What all alcoholics have in common though is that they demonstrate certain characteristics or signs and symptoms of drink dependency. I have a page on the ten warning signs of alcoholism that gives you more information on this.
There is an argument that says that people with certain personalities are more prone to alcoholism. Also those in the alcoholism field talk about addictive personality disorder, a condition that makes an individual more likely to become obsessive about activities or substances.
There is however, a straightforward questionnaire, used by many professionals in the alcohol addiction field that simplifies the process of identifying those with alcohol issues.
It is called the CAGE questionnaire. This alcoholism questionnaire can answer the question,"Who is an alcoholic?"
Who is an Alcoholic? The CAGE Questionnaire
This is a VERY SIMPLE 4 question self-test. Despite its simplicity, however, it is very effective at identifying problem drinking.
All you have to do is answer yes or no to the questions.
If you answer yes to 2 or more questions then you should take a look at your alcohol use.
It is important to note that when answering the questions you should take into account your behavior and feelings over your whole lifetime NOT just now.
Here are the questions:
Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?
Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?
Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
As you can see the CAGE questionnaire gets its name from the acronym formed by the letters in red.
A word of caution, just because you may have answered yes to 2 or more questions does not mean you are alcoholic.
What it does mean is that your drinking should be investigated further.
Who is an alcoholic? What Next?
If you answered yes to two or more or more of the questions it is important not to draw too many conclusions. However, it is important to seek advice and/or help of some sort.
For example if you want to you can look at the other alcoholism tests on this site and see if they confirm or refute what the CAGE test has told you about your drinking.
Another step could be to, to visit somebody who is qualified to make a professional judgment about your drinking habits (only if you want to-remember nobody is forcing you).
Usually this means making an appointment with an alcohol/addiction counselor and discussing your alcohol consumption with him/her.
If you feel more comfortable with your family doctor then go to them by all means. Most doctors have a good knowledge of alcoholism and its signs. If they think you have a problem they can refer you to a counselor/treatment center.
Another option is to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in your area. These meetings are very simple in format. They generally involve alcoholics sharing their alcoholism stories, feelings, and struggles with alcohol. This is a good way to discover more about alcoholism and to decide whether you have a problem. You don't have to speak at these meetings if you don't want to, you can just listen.
Alcoholics Anonymous, however, is not for everybody and there are plenty of options out there for those who do not want to go down the AA route, or have found the 12-step method to be alien to them. Read AA alternatives for more.
If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:
Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)