Many of us may take a few too many from time to time, but Melinda Beck, writing for The Wall Street Journal (appropriately right after the new year) asks “Are you an Alcoholic? Turns out that it’s not so easy to answer. There are different stages – from alcohol “abuse” to alcohol “dependence” to alcohol “addiction” with attending serious health problems. These tend to follow a path, but not always …
“Many heavy drinkers are very high-functioning – until they can’t function anymore. [They] can be high achievers in the short run, because they’re driven and compulsive … They say to themselves, ‘As long as I’m not making a fool of myself in a bar, or drinking in the morning, or as long as I’ still showing up for work, then I’m not an alcoholic …
For women too much means drinking more than three drinks in two hours … or if you have more than 7 drinks a week. However, how those drinks are distributed is also important …”
If you’ve done any of these in the past year, you qualify for a diagnosis of “abuse”:
- drunk alcohol in hazardous situations like driving;
- kept drinking despite social or interpersonal problems;
- had legal problems related to alcohol;
- failed to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home because of drinking.
To find out where you (or someone you care about) fits on the scale, get a quick diagnosis at Alcoholscreening.org. The story outlines interesting situations and statistics, a sidebar of “Strategies for Cutting Down,” and some encouraging news about remission.
It’s a good article to know about.