Check in on the early warning signs of a drinking problem with our self-assessments
Self-assessment quizzes like the AUDIT or DUDIT can help you identify a problem with alcohol or drugs before it gets out of control.
Sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of how much alcohol you drink and the impact that it has on you. That can make it confusing to see when you’ve crossed the line from fun, socially acceptable drinking into alcohol use that might be causing you problems. It can be helpful to check in with yourself to find out if your drinking is ‘normal’. Are you still enjoying it, or is it causing you more trouble than it is worth?
There are some obvious signs that you might be experiencing problems related to drinking. Experiences like blackouts or memory loss, run-ins with the police, physical injuries or relationship breakdowns are very clear signs — but you don’t have to wait for things to get to that level. There are early warning signs that might tell you it’s time to assess your drinking.
Do you find yourself making statements like this?
- “I only had a few drinks. It really wasn’t that many.”
- “I had to keep up with my mates. Getting wasted is how we have good time.”
- “It was your fault we got that messy. I never usually end up passed out in a hedge.”
- “It’s not that big a deal that I lost my wallet again, or that my wife was so mad about it. My drinking isn’t the problem.”
These kinds of thoughts or statements don’t necessarily mean you’re deep in the depths of alcohol problem, but they do show that when you’re drinking you might be experiencing some things you’d rather not. They are early warning signs that show things could get worse if they continue the way they are going. You might want to pay more attention to the ‘good times’, and how good they really are.
How a self-assessment of your drinking can help
Privately, in our down time, we can think about how we are doing and habits that might be affecting our quality of life. We think back on our experiences and social selves. Maybe we think about what we’re like when we drink. Are we the person we share on our social feeds? Do we celebrate ourselves the same way when we’re drunk as when we’re sober? Do we even like ourselves when we’re drunk?
These can be good, constructive thoughts, but too often when we’re alone with our thoughts they can get out of control and leave us feeling powerless. Instead of letting your thoughts about your drinking spiral out of control, we recommend checking out a self-assessment like the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) that can help you understand your drinking from a more objective perspective. It’s got a big scary name, but it is just a simple quiz that helps to identify issues with alcohol from little to big. It has the scary name because scientists can’t pass up a clever acronym.
The self-assessments we share on Counselling Online are globally-recognised and can help you count how much you are drinking, rate the impact alcohol is having on your health and relationships, and provide some advice on what your next steps could be depending on your score. You can also take a self-assessment related to drug use.
How the AUDIT self-assessment works
Our self-assessments ask a series of 10 simple questions, mostly asking you to rate how often you have certain experiences on a scale from never to almost daily. You don’t have to write long answers or reveal any personal details to a stranger. The assessment helps to turn your negative experiences into something you can count, and that can make them easier to understand.
In a way, the assessment kind of lets your sober self speak to your drunk self. An effective way of using the self-assessments is to take one now, have a think about how you may change your drinking and then come back in 3—4 weeks (‘they’ say it takes 21 days to change a habit) to take another assessment and see if there is any difference.
If the self-assessment shows you are facing a problem, there are several paths you can take next. When we support people at Counselling Online we try to make it as easy as possible to help people understand where they stand and find the path they want to take. We provide information on alcohol (and other drugs), you will find forums where other people are talking about similar issues, we have self-help strategies and daily reminders for those doing looking to do the work themselves.
If you’ve realised you want to make a change but you’re not sure how you want to start, a chat is often a good place to start. Our trained drug and alcohol counsellors are here to help you find your path — free, confidential, 24/4.