Am I An Alcoholic?

August 25, 2022

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If you have been asking yourself questions like “Am I becoming an alcoholic”, or “If I drink every day, am I an alcoholic”, there is a reasonable probability that you are already engaged in unhealthy patterns of alcohol consumption. 

Most people who conform to moderate drinking guidelines and experience no adverse outcomes triggered by alcohol abuse would not be likely to ask these questions in the first place. 

Before the pandemic, 14.5 million people in the U.S. had alcohol use disorder (the clinical descriptor for alcoholism). SAMHSA data from NSDUH 2020 indicates a huge increase in alcoholism, with 28.5 million U.S. adults meeting the criteria for alcohol use disorder in 2020. 

Even worse than this dramatic spike in alcohol abuse and addiction, less than one in ten of those people engage with professional addiction treatment, according to the same data. 

All of these patterns of consuming alcohol are unhealthy and potentially dangerous:

  • Binge drinking: CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) defines binge drinking as a women consuming four or more standard drinks in two hours, or a man consuming more than five standard drinks in the same period. Binge drinking can heighten the chance of experiencing alcohol poisoning, a form of alcohol overdose that can be fatal.
  • Heavy drinking: According to NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), if a women consumes more than eight standard drinks each week or a man consumes more than fourteen standard drinks weekly, this is classified as heavy drinking.
  • Problem drinkingProblem drinking is an informal umbrella term used to describe any unhealthy or abusive patterns of alcohol consumption that trigger negative outcomes.
  • Alcohol use disorder: Alcoholism is formally known as alcohol use disorder, a chronic and relapsing condition of the brain characterized by compulsive alcohol consumption despite obviously adverse consequences.

How, then, can you determine when problem drinking develops into full-blown alcoholism? 


Alcoholism is defined according to the diagnostic criteria inAPA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The most recent edition, DSM-5-TR, includes cravings for alcohol as a criterion. 

If you are concerned that you could be alcoholic, consult our alcoholism quiz below for a self-diagnosis. Consult your physician for a formal diagnosis or referral. 

Additionally, consider the following indicators of alcohol abuse and answer the questions honestly: 

  • Do you feel that your alcohol intake is causing problems in your personal and professional life?
  • Do you feel a physical need for alcohol?
  • Do you often experience powerful emotional cravings for alcohol?
  • Have you frequently thought about reducing your alcohol intake?
  • Does the amount of alcohol you drink make you feel guilty?
  • Do loved ones criticize your drinking habits?
  • Do you engage in binge drinking?
  • Does the amount of alcohol you drink each week qualify as heavy drinking?

Before completing the quiz below, maybe you have been asking yourself this question: “I drink every night, am I an alcoholic?” 


If you feel a compulsion to drink alcohol every day, there is a strong chance that alcohol use disorder is already presenting. 

NIAAA defines heavy drinking and binge drinking as the most damaging patterns of alcohol consumption. 

Although daily drinking, binge drinking, and heavy drinking can all heighten your risk profile for alcoholism, this combined CDC / SAMHSA study shows that 90% of those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol are neither alcohol-dependent nor alcoholic. 

That said, consuming alcohol every day can trigger physical and psychological dependence and heighten the risk of alcohol use disorder, according to this study.


Instead of posing a series of arbitrary questions about your relationship with alcohol, this quick quiz used the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism outlined in DSM-5-TR. 

Ask yourself these questions based on your alcohol consumption and habits over the past year: 

  1. Have you made unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking or to moderate your alcohol consumption?
  2. Have you ever experienced intense cravings for alcohol?
  3. Do you get withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol subside?
  4. Do you regularly drink more than you intended or drink for longer than planned?
  5. Has tolerance formed so the effects of alcohol are diminished?
  6. Does your alcohol intake create problems in your relationships?
  7. Do you spend large chunks of time drinking and recovering from the effects of alcohol abuse?
  8. Is your alcohol intake causing you to neglect personal and professional obligations?
  9. Do you spend less time doing things you once enjoyed?
  10. Do you drink alcohol in dangerous situations like before driving?
  11. Do you continue to drink alcohol even though it is causing or worsening a physical or mental health condition?

To give you a frame of reference for your responses, alcohol use disorder is diagnosed according to these criteria as follows:

  • Mild AUD (2 to 3 criteria)
  • Moderate AUD (4 to 5 criteria)
  • Severe AUD (6 or more criteria)

If your answers to this quiz are overwhelmingly positive, you might benefit from an evidence-based treatment program for alcohol use disorder. We can help you with that. 


If you are ready to commit to recovery and move from active alcohol addiction into sustained sobriety, we can help you here at Gratitude Lodge

We provide luxury inpatient rehab at three prime California locations – Long Beach, Newport Beach, and San Diego. 

Alcohol detox and withdrawal can be uncomfortable, dangerous, and possibly deadly without medical assistance, especially if you have severe alcohol use disorder. Our treatment programs begin with a supervised medical detox. Your treatment team can prescribe medications to streamline cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and clinical care is available around the clock. 

MAT (medication-assisted treatment) can be useful throughout ongoing therapy and recovery. MAT at Gratitude Lodge is delivered alongside these interventions: 

  • Counseling (individual and group)
  • Family therapy
  • Psychotherapies like CBT and DBT
  • Holistic therapies
  • 12-step immersion program

To kickstart your recovery in a secure environment free of distractions or triggers for alcohol abuse, reach out to admissions right now at 888-861-1658.


Help for you or a loved one is only one call away.


Don’t Let Addiction Control You



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