How Do I Know If I Have an Alcohol Problem?

How Do I Know If I Have A Problem?

How Do I Know if I Have a Problem?

One way to assess whether or not you have a drinking problem is to consider the guidelines for
moderate drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA),
moderate drinking is defined as 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women and older people.

A standard drink is equal to
• one 12-ounce bottle or can of beer or wine cooler
• or one 5-ounce glass of wine
• or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits

If your drinking levels are above this range, then you need to talk to your health care provider about whether or not
you are exceeding a reasonable limit.

Also, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institutes of
Health, you may have a problem if you answer yes to any of the following questions:
1. Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
2. Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
3. Does your drinking worry your family?
4. Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won't?
5. Do you ever forget what you did while you were drinking?
6. Do you get headaches or have a hangover after you have been drinking?

Another way to determine whether or not you have a problem with drinking is to use the CAGE
screening instrument. It asks the following 4 questions:
1. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
3. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
4. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning (as an eye opener) to steady your nerves or
get rid of a hangover?

One yes answer on any of the above question sets suggests a possible alcohol problem. The more yes
answers you have, the more likely it is that you have an alcohol problem. It is advised that you see a
health care provider to discuss your results so that he/she can properly diagnose any problem you may have.

Even if you answered no to all of the above questions, if you encounter drinking-related problems with
your job, relationships, health, or the law, you should tell your health care provider.