“Am I an alcoholic?” Many a drinker, alcoholic and not, have asked themselves this question. Commonly, the question comes on the tail end of a particularly difficult ‘bender’, or extended period of abusive alcohol consumption. Other times, the question might come in a moment of clarity in an otherwise functional lifestyle which is saturated with alcohol abuse. Whenever the question comes it is usually for a good reason: something is not right about your relationship with alcohol.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, called the DSM is in its fifth and most current edition. Widely regarded as the “bible” of diagnoses, the criteria listed in the DSM are considered ‘official’ as it takes significant scientific research to make adjustments. The fifth edition created eleven distinct changes to the diagnosis of alcoholism, specifically called “Alcohol Use Disorder”.
The questions listed in the DSM are asked with reference to “Within the last year”. You might be experiencing alcoholism if, within the last year, you have:
- Consumed more alcohol in larger amounts than intended
- Consumed more alcohol for longer periods of time than intended
- Felt like you need to cut down your drinking
- Attempted to cut down or control your drinking
- Spent significant time trying to get alcohol, drink alcohol, or get over the effects of drinking alcohol
- Craved alcohol when you were not consuming alcohol
- Failed to fulfill responsibilities at work, at home, in relationships, or at school as a result of alcohol consumption
- Continued to use alcohol despite problems caused by using alcohol in your social life, relationships, and other areas of life
- Given up your passions, hobbies, friendships, relationships, and professional pursuits because of your alcohol use
- Continued to use alcohol even when you have serious health responses in mind and body
- Experienced the development of tolerance by either needing more alcohol to achieve the same or greater level of intoxication, or, no longer experiencing the same level of intoxication with a sustained amount of alcohol abuse
- Experienced symptoms of withdrawal
Most men who are struggling with alcoholism will read these signs and identify with many of them. As they read, they might think to themselves something like, “Doesn’t everyone experience that?” Shockingly, only 2 of these points need to be identified with to qualify for a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. Four to five symptoms is considered moderate. If you identify with 6 or more of these symptoms, you may be struggling with severe alcoholism.
At Tree House Recovery, we’re helping men find freedom from addiction. Our treatment programs create sustainable change for sustainable recovery by helping men find their strength in body, mind, and spirit. For information on our Orange County programs, call us today: (855) 202-2138