Alcohol abuse is described as any "harmful use" of alcohol.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV describes alcohol abusers as those who drink despite recurrent social, interpersonal, and legal problems as a result of alcohol use. Harmful use implies alcohol use that causes either physical or mental damage.
Those who are alcohol dependent meet all of the criteria of alcohol abuse, but they will also exhibit some or all of the following:
•Narrowing of the drinking repertoire (drinking only one brand or type of alcoholic beverage).
•Drink-seeking behavior (only going to social events that will include drinking, or only hanging out with others who drink).
•Alcohol tolerance (having to drink increasing amounts to achieve previous effects).
•Withdrawal symptoms (getting physical symptoms after going a short period without drinking).
•Drinking to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms (such as drinking to stop the shakes or to "cure" a hangover).
•Subjective awareness of the compulsion to drink or craving for alcohol (whether they admit it to others or not).
•A return to drinking after a period of abstinence (deciding to quit drinking and not being able to follow through).
Typically, those drinkers who are diagnosed as only alcohol abusers can be helped with a brief intervention, including education concerning the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning.
Those who have become alcohol dependent generally require outside help to stop drinking, which could include detoxification, medical treatment, professional rehab or counseling and/or self-help group support.
In addition, here is a quick test that you can take....answer with 100% honesty or it won't do you any good. It will give you a better idea if your drinking may fall into harmful patterns and indicate whether or not you have a drinking problem. When answering the questions, use the past 12 months of your life as a time frame.
Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
Is drinking affecting your reputation?
Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
Have you had financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
Do you turn to inferior companions and environments when drinking?
Does your drinking make you careless of your family's welfare?
Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
Do you want a drink the next morning?
Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?
Do you drink alone?
Have you ever had a loss of memory as a result of drinking?
Has you physician ever treated you for drinking?
Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking?
if you answered as few as 3 of these questions with a Yes it is a definite sign that your drinking patterns are harmful and considered alcohol dependent or alcoholic.
Thank you Annette for sharing this. It is powerful. I'm the alcoholic who could answer "yes" to every question on the list yet still blamed it on anything and everything else. Denial...it's a powerful thing.