What Are the Signs and Symptoms of an Alcohol Use Disorder?
Generally known as alcoholism and alcohol abuse, alcohol use disorders are medical conditions that doctors can diagnose when a patient's drinking causes distress or harm. See if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself. In the past year, have you....
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn't?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over other aftereffects?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten arrested, been held at a police station, or had other legal problems because of your drinking?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there?
Even One or Two Symptoms Can be a Reason for Concern
It depends on the particular symptom(s) and the severity. The symptoms toward the top of the list tend to be early signs of potential trouble, whereas the ones further down the list indicate that you have moved further down a risky path.
You Can Do Something to Reduce Your Risks
Some people with a few, mild symptoms can cut back effectively. For those with more severe symptoms, it's safest to quit. A health care professional can look at the number, pattern, and severity of your symptoms to help you decide the best course of action.
If You Are Concerned About Your Drinking and Have Thought About Cutting Back or Quitting Drinking
You may be eligible to participate in one of our treatment research programs. Call us at 617.414.1990 to learn more.
Source: NIAAA (2009) Thinking About Drinking