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Do I have a drinking problem?

Do I have a drinking problem?

While drinking can be a celebratory activity on special occasions, it’s important to know how much is too much and when your drinking has become a problem.

You know that old saying “if you have to ask, chances are you have a problem”?

Whoever coined the phrase might have been on to something.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.

The disease is often progressive and in some cases fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.

This can mean different things for different people.

If you suspect that you have a drinking problem, you should schedule a comprehensive evaluation with a healthcare professional. To get you started the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers two self-checks including the CAGE and T-ACE quizzes:

CAGE T-ACE
C Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking? T Tolerance: How many drinks does it take to make you feel high?
A Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? A Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
G Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking? C Have you ever felt you ought to cut down on your drinking?
E Eye opener: Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover? E Eye-opener: Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

Though it’s not meant to replace a professional opinion, the CAGE quiz is designed to identify if you could have a drinking problem. At least two affirmative answers to the questions signify the need for further assessment.

The T-ACE is based on the CAGE and helps identify how severe the alcoholic relationship is. Like the CAGE, scoring more than 2 points is a bad sign. Questions A, C, or E are worth 1 point each, while admitting tolerance to more than two drinks (the T question) is worth 2 points alone.

No one can force someone to get help for an addiction before they’re ready. However, if you or someone you know suspects they may have a problem, contact your personal health care provider or the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service at 1-800-662-HELP for more information.

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