Take the Alcohol Quiz
You should answer the AUDIT questions in terms of standard drinks.
Note: Please see the chart below which illustrates the approximate number of standard drinks in different alcoholic beverages:
*Note: Depending on factors such as the type of spirits and the recipe, one mixed drink can contain from one to three or more standard drinks.
Ready? Here are your 10 questions (as asked in the self-assessment version of the AUDIT tool):
|What Does Your Score Mean?|
|AUDIT Score||Risk||About Your Score||What’s Next?|
|7 or less||Zone I||If you score 7 or less, your level of drinking is not considered harmful.||Educate yourself fully about the dangers of using alcohol.|
|8 – 15||Zone II||If you score between 8 and 15, your level of drinking is considered harmful. You should seek professional advice on the most appropriate ways to reduce your drinking.||Reduce your level of drinking. Seek advice on the most appropriate ways to do this from your family physician or an addiction specialist.|
|16 – 19||Zone III||If you score between 16 and 19, your level of drinking is considered hazardous. You need professional counseling and your level of drinking requires continued monitoring.||Seek professional advice and counseling through your family physician or an addiction specialist.|
|20 or more||Zone IV||If you score 20 or more, your level of drinking is considered dangerous and can indicate an alcohol use disorder (AUD). You need to be referred to a clinical specialist for diagnosis and treatment.||Seek a referral to a clinical specialist for diagnosis and treatment through your family physician or an addiction specialist.|
Please remember, this is a primary screening tool – a first step, if you like, and it is used to help reduce alcohol-related problems and risks. However, you can use your score to make decisions with your family physician or an addiction specialist about what you should do next, if that is required.
The AUDIT screening tool is also a series of guidelines, and if a referral to a clinical specialist is needed, they will take into account much more information, including:
- Your current medical condition
- Your family’s history of alcohol problems
- A physical examination, and
- Laboratory testing, if required.
SpringBoard Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehab center located in Scottsdale (just outside Phoenix), Arizona, and we offer an accredited intensive outpatient drug treatment program, helping our clients successfully recover from a range of substance addictions.
Having earned many years of full accreditation from the Joint Commission, we accept most major health insurance coverage, and clients travel from all over the U.S. to receive their personalized treatment with us, with many staying in our on-site, substance-free Recovery Housing accommodation.
Have you ever wondered if you drank too much alcohol?
Are you concerned it might be affecting your health?
Many people often ask themselves these questions, and you’re not alone if you never take the time to actually find out.
The reality is this:
Most people don’t really keep an eye on their alcohol consumption. Some of these don’t even equate average drinking with current physical or mental health issues, especially if they’re young.
However, now you can answer these questions in just a couple of minutes.
Using the world-recognized standard in alcohol self-assessment – the AUDIT tool (for alcohol harms, including dependence) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) – you can find out in the next couple of minutes if your level of alcohol consumption is safe, risky, or is typical of someone with alcohol use disorder (AUD) – the medical term for alcoholism.
AUDIT is an acronym for the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, a 10-part alcohol screening tool. It assesses:
- An individual’s alcohol consumption
- Their drinking behaviors, and
- Alcohol-related problems
What is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) / Alcoholism?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be briefly and medically defined as “a chronic, relapsing brain disorder.” AUD is the clinical term used to describe a spectrum of physical and psychological alcohol dependence, and it can be diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe.
Severe AUD equates to the previous medical definition for alcoholism.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Addiction (NIAAA) defines alcohol use disorder as:
“A medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. It encompasses the conditions that some people refer to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and the colloquial term, alcoholism.”
“Considered a brain disorder, AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe. Lasting changes in the brain caused by alcohol misuse perpetuate AUD and make individuals vulnerable to relapse.”
Death by alcohol-related causes is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and every year, alcohol-related causes (such as the long-term damage to physical health caused by alcohol, AUD, and motor vehicle accidents) result in the deaths of around 95,000 people.
In fact, mid-2020 to mid-2021 is perhaps the very first year (as in a continuous 12-month period) that drug overdose deaths – a direct result of the nation’s opioid crisis – have taken more lives than alcohol.
However, this is only a possibility – and depends on the emergence of statistically accurate figures for both.
Alcohol Use & Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the U.S.
- Every year in the U.S., more than 95,000 people (approximately 68,000 men and 27,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes
- Alcohol misuse costs the U.S. around $250 billion – every single year
- In 2019, approximately 14.1 million people had AUD
- According to a 2017 study, more than 10% of U.S. children live with a parent who has AUD
What are the Risks of Developing AUD?
The development of AUD depends on a number of factors:
- Alcohol Consumption: The risk of AUD depends largely on how much, how often, and how quickly you consume alcohol.
Over time, alcohol abuse, which includes binge drinking and heavy alcohol use, will significantly increase the risk of AUD.
- History of Consumption: Studies have shown people aged 26 years and over who began drinking alcohol before the age of 15 were more than 5x as likely to develop AUD as those who waited until age 21 or later to begin drinking.
The risk for females in this age group is higher than males.
- Genetics / Family History of Alcohol Misuse: Genetics do play a role in AUD risk; in fact, it is estimated to present around 60% of someone’s overall risk.
Parental drinking patterns can also influence the chance that their child(ren) will one day develop AUD.
- Mental Health Disorders & Trauma: AUD is often diagnosed with people also suffering with a mental health disorder, eg. depression, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, those with a history of childhood trauma are also at increased risk of AUD.
5 Different Types of Alcoholics
Even though everyone is unique, it is possible to divide alcoholics into 5 distinct subtypes:
- Young Adult: 31% of those in the U.S. with alcohol use disorder (AUD) are in the young adult subtype category. While they might drink less frequently than some of the other groups here, they tend to binge when they do drink. They typically come from families that do not have high rates of AUD.
- Young Antisocial: A little more than half of the individuals in this subtype have been diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder. This disorder is diagnosed when individuals exhibit at least 3 of the following behavioral qualities:
- Recurring criminal activities
- Lack of regard for the safety of others
- Regular assaults or fights
Furthermore, it is not unusual for individuals in this subtype to also suffer from anxiety problems, major depression, bipolar disorder, and other substance addictions.
- Functional: A functional alcoholic is one of the most difficult types of alcoholics to spot as they do not fit many of these stereotypes. This can cause individuals to be in complete denial regarding their addiction. These individuals often have stable jobs, families, and are successful people.
Out of all of the people who are addicted to alcohol in the United States, the subtype makes up a little less than 20% of them.
- Intermediate Familial: These people are typically employed and roughly half of them come from families that have suffered from multigenerational alcoholism. Almost all of the individuals in the subtype have experienced clinical depression.
- Chronic Severe: Lastly, chronic severe alcoholics are the least common type of alcoholics in the U.S. These people are typically middle-aged and began drinking at a young age. These individuals are the most likely to suffer from addictions to other substances and/or psychiatric disorders.
More than three-quarters of these individuals are also from families with multigenerational alcoholism.
The Wide-Ranging Damage Potential of Alcohol Addiction
The continued misuse and abuse of alcohol will certainly take its toll on virtually every single aspect of a person’s life – their health, their relationships, their employment, and even their liberty.
Later, we will look at the primary areas of someone’s life that can – and undoubtedly will – be damaged, often permanently, by alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Clear Warning Signs of an Alcohol Addiction
However, we will firstly look at the warning signs that are often present when someone is unable to control their drinking or their level of alcohol consumption:
|Physical Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)|
|Regularly increasing alcohol intake||
Frequently showing signs of alcohol intoxication, including:
||Spending more time being hungover and recovering from drinking alcohol|
Increased injuries from accidents and falls|
Breath smelling of alcohol
Changes in weight
Reduction in appetite
Frequently showing signs of mild alcohol withdrawal, including:
|Psychological Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)|
Over time, the misuse and abuse of alcohol, such as regular episodes of either binge drinking or heavy drinking, is a difficult thing to hide, particularly from loved ones, family members and friends.
Alcohol abuse not only takes its toll on your physical wellbeing – it affects your mental health, the way you appear to others, and how you engage with others.
|Social & Appearance Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)|
Physical & Behavioral Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Developing alcohol use disorder (AUD) doesn’t happen overnight – it is something that happens slowly over time. For this reason, it can sneak up on people, and their relatively healthy occasional drinking clearly becomes more frequent and more problematic.
There are several behavioral, mental health, and physical health symptoms that can result from AUD.
Let’s take a look at some of these symptoms to give you a sense of how wide-ranging AUD’s health effects can be:
|Physical Health Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)|
|Behavioral / Mental Health Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)|
Long-Term Alcohol Abuse: Physical, Mental, Psychological & Social Damage
In the long-term, if the high level of alcohol consumption continues, alcohol use disorder (AUD) can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious health problems, which can include:
|Physical & Mental Health Damage of Alcohol Abuse / Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)|
What is the Social Cost of Long-term Alcohol Abuse?
The social costs that can be suffered by someone with alcohol abuse issues or diagnosed AUD cover many aspects of their interactions in daily life – from the most important, their family – predominantly, their spouses and partners, and their children – to their friends and their social circle, and even those within their community.
Furthermore, in the case of a DUI, for example, it can even mean the loss of liberty.
- Spouses & Partners: The vast majority of spouses and partners are the very first to notice if their loved one is struggling with their alcohol misuse – unless, of course, they are moderate drinkers themselves, or more, too.
However, if only one of the couple is drinking heavily, problems invariably arise more frequently. If left alone, the marriage or partnership can be severely affected; for example, by:
- Unhappiness in the relationship
- Worsening existing stressors, eg. financial issues or childcare responsibilities
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Domestic violence / intimate partner violence
- Children: Sadly, children are not spared this severe emotional distress. According to a 2017 study, more than 10% of U.S. children live with a parent who has AUD.
Additionally, many research studies have found that the children of those with AUD, known as “Adult Children of Alcoholics” (ACOC), can be negatively impacted by a parent’s alcohol abuse in many fundamental ways as they grow and progress through their own lives.
Common problems for these “adult children” can include:
- Lack of self-esteem
- Issues sustaining intimate or personal relationships
- Increased risk of alcohol abuse / AUD, or other substance use disorder (SUD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The reaction of a person’s friends, whether close or otherwise, is usually dependent upon the specific friend’s existing view of “alcoholics,” meaning it can vary from either fully and 100% supportive right through to a stigmatized viewpoint, where the issue is viewed as a “fault” of the person, eg. because of “a lack of willpower.
Regardless of how inaccurate the last statement is, a common example of this would be that once good friends will now view the person differently, such as untrustworthy or in another negative way.
People with AUD are at more risk of legal issues because of their inability to control their behavior while intoxicated. A prime example of this is the criminal charge of drunk driving, either driving under the influence – DUI, or driving while intoxicated or impaired – DWI.
These charges can obviously be worsened by both injuries to others or actual fatalities.
What is the Financial Cost of Alcohol Abuse?
The financial costs of abusing alcohol are not limited in any way by the actual cost of the alcohol consumed, as alcohol abuse can lead to:
- Loss of employment
- Loss of the family home
- Divorce courts and child custody issues
- Other legal issues
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) Treatment Options
The most critical point for an individual in the treatment process of alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the final acceptance of their desperate need for help.
For many people, to actually come to this point will have involved a drastic, potentially life-changing experience, eg. the loss of the home, job loss, divorce, a serious medical emergency, and so on.
This moment is often described as reaching “rock-bottom” – the realization that life will only get worse, and likely end in death, if nothing is done.
For others, it can be something more minor, a kind of “last straw” scenario, where the realization process is far more gradual.
If you are in the position where you want to end your cycle of alcohol abuse, your first port of call is to tell your family and friends that you need alcohol addiction treatment, as they will hopefully wish to help and support you.
The Initial Consultation: Primary Care Physician
Anyone who is considering seeking help or treatment for their alcohol issues should initially visit their family physician – their primary source of care. It is crucial that they answer all of the doctor’s questions openly and honestly.
It’s also advisable to take a family member or a friend to this consultation.
The doctor will:
- Ask questions relating to alcohol drinking habits
- Perform a physical exam, and
- Complete a psychological evaluation
They may also request particular lab tests if it is believed the drinking is responsible for organ damage or other medical conditions.
The physician may recommend sources of addiction treatment, and the most appropriate types of treatment; for example, inpatient or outpatient.
Lastly, it is likely the individual will be referred to a behavioral professional for further consultation.
What is Alcohol Detox?
If an individual has been consuming alcohol excessively over an extended period or is diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD), the cessation of their alcohol use will cause withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be severe, and even prove fatal if left untreated.
It is recommended that they undergo a professional medically supervised detox process.
Medically-Assisted Alcohol Detox: Withdrawing from Alcohol Safely
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the individual’s alcohol intake.
If an individual is drinking heavily, as in the case of AUD, withdrawing from alcohol without medical care is dangerous, and has been known to prove life-threatening.
A professional, medically-supervised alcohol detox (or detoxification) ensures an individual withdraws from alcohol safely and securely. Medical staff are on-hand to monitor the detox process, and to administer specific medications if required.
The medications used in a medically-supervised alcohol detox to ease some of the withdrawal symptoms include benzodiazepines, which are used to counteract the anxiety produced as a withdrawal symptom.
Common benzodiazepines used in alcohol detox include diazepam (valium) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium).
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur after 2 hours, and up to 4 days after stopping alcohol use. Depending on historical alcohol intake, these symptoms can be common or severe:
|Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms|
Severe Withdrawal Symptoms
One of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms is delirium tremens, also known as “the DTs.” Around 3-5% of individuals withdrawing from heavy alcohol use will experience delirium tremens.
If left untreated, this condition can prove fatal. If you or a loved one shows any symptoms of the DTs, seek emergency medical treatment immediately as symptoms will likely worsen.
Medically-Assisted Detox vs. “Cold Turkey”
When someone attempts to quit alcohol “cold turkey” (normally at home, but importantly, without medical supervision), they are susceptible to all the withdrawal symptoms listed above – both common and severe.
In addition, the stress placed on the body by the detox process can also lead to:
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Heart arrhythmias
- Kidney or liver dysfunction
Furthermore, the individual will experience intense cravings for alcohol. Attempting to detox at home without the assistance, guidance, and support of medical professionals puts any chance of recovery at a strong risk of relapse.
Lastly, for many going through detox alone, the pain of withdrawal symptoms can result in immediately resuming their alcohol use.
Alcohol Detox: The Vital First Step in Recovery
It should be remembered with any substance addiction treatment that detox is only the very first step of the process of recovery.
Ridding the body safely of alcohol does not cure alcoholism.
It does, however, bring clarity to the mind and begin to heal the body, so that an individual suffering from alcohol addiction is best placed to continue their treatment.
What is Co-Occurring Disorder / Dual Diagnosis?
In the case of a person with alcohol use disorder (AUD) also suffering with an untreated mental health disorder, this is medically known as “co-occurring disorder” or “dual diagnosis.”
Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are very common examples of these types of mental health disorders.
Alcohol rehab treatment needs to treat both disorders simultaneously to be effective, as the continuing existence of one invariably results in the return of the other.
Additionally, alcohol abuse itself can result in the emergence of a mental health disorder, as the abuse can result in both the development of behavioral issues and physical, structural changes in the individual’s brain, especially in those aged under 25 years of age.
Treatment Options: Types of Alcohol Rehab
1. Inpatient Program (IP)
An inpatient program (IP), also known as residential rehab because you live 24/7 at the facility, is recommended for those with severe alcohol addiction, and for those who have a co-occurring disorder (or dual diagnosis).
Being a resident within an alcohol rehab offering continuous care helps enormously in avoiding negative influences and triggers from your previous, addicted life.
IPs can either be short or long term, anywhere between 28 days to a whole year and beyond, and often lead to further treatment, such as an outpatient program OP).
Please bear in mind that IPs are normally more costly than the OP alternatives, and are not usually covered by healthcare insurance.
Advantages of IPs: Inpatient rehab programs offer a number of benefits to people who have the flexibility (or lack of obligations) to deal with the stringent restrictions:
- Residential inpatient rehab treatment is highly structured, focusing on all aspects of a patient’s addiction, including one-to-one counseling/therapy
- IPs provide 24/7 care, usually in non-hospital settings, which can be important for those also dealing with mental health issues and past trauma
- Patients will live with other alcoholics, encouraging a sense of community and fraternity
2. Partial-Hospitalization Program (PHP)
Partial-hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient programs are all, fundamentally, outpatient programs, differentiated by their level of intensity.
Partial-hospitalization programs (PHP) provide a highly-structured environment for up to 6 hours a day, while you continue to reside either at home or in sober-living housing.
PHPs allow clients transitioning from an inpatient or a detox program to move into a more flexible program that still offers a high level of structure and support.
3. Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) enable patients to continue with their normal, day-to-day lives in a way that residential IPs do not.
Importantly, many intensive outpatient and traditional outpatient programs are covered by standard healthcare insurance.
Additionally, if it is required, a medically-assisted detox takes place prior to the start of the IOP.
Advantages of IOP / OPs:
- Patients can continue to live at home, and work or study
- Teenagers and adolescents continue to have family support
- Treatment costs are significantly less than an IP
- Appointments can be highly flexible – either during the day, in the evening, and at weekends
IOPs are sometimes used in conjunction with inpatient programs as a way of helping clients to transition seamlessly back into their families and communities.
They are designed to:
- Continue counseling
- Help establish support mechanisms
- Assist with relapse management, and
- Provide further coping strategies if needed.
4. Outpatient Program (OP)
Outpatient programs (OPs) involve a regular appointment schedule, spread throughout the week, and usually provide specific therapies, counseling, or group sessions.
Traditional OPs typically cost significantly less than a residential rehab / IP, because the level of support is less intensive.
Additionally, if it is required, a medically-assisted detox takes place prior to the start of the OP.
5. Recovery Housing / Sober Living
In the early stages of rehab and treatment from substance addiction, it can be extremely difficult for many people to fully commit to their recovery while living in their regular home environment.
However, there is an additional facility and service – known as Recovery Housing or Sober Living – an excellent resource that provides a structured, supportive, and stable environment.
This type of accommodation is free from the usual stressors, triggers, and temptations, and enables individuals in early recovery to successfully achieve and maintain a substance-free life.
Post-Treatment Options for Recovering Alcoholics
Alcohol addiction treatment is not a magical pill – it cannot cure an alcohol use disorder. It does, however, put the individual in the strongest possible position to continue their life alcohol-free.
One of the main aspects of this disease is its ability to force its sufferers to return to the same cycle of alcohol abuse they have just recovered from – an event known as “relapse.”
The recovering alcoholic must learn to acknowledge, understand, mitigate, and even eliminate, any danger of their own potential relapse.
This can mean finding new friends, new social circles to be a part of, new hobbies and pastimes, and for some, it can even involve moving out of their home area and starting afresh somewhere else.
As most relapses occur in the first 6 months of post-treatment recovery, the newly sober individual needs to avoid potential triggers at all costs.
There are a number of post-treatment options available to the newly sober alcoholic.
At the very least, it is advisable to begin attending mutual aid support groups, such as AA or SMART Recovery meetings, as these have been proven to reduce the possibility of relapses.
Furthermore, anyone leaving professional alcohol addiction treatment should also be given a relapse prevention plan, and be certain of what level of support they need.
Mutual Aid Support Groups / Programs
Also known as peer-based recovery support or self-help groups, mutual aid support groups are free, peer-led (i.e., non-professional) organizations that can help individuals with substance use disorders.
Examples of these support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and SMART (Self-management And Recovery Training) Recovery.
Mutual-help organizations focus on social support – through the communication and exchange of addiction and recovery experience and skills with others. These are the most common mutual aid support groups:
Addiction Recovery Coaching
A certified recovery coach can provide 24/7, intensive or casual recovery support to a newly-sober individual, offering coping tools, strategies and guidance on a more personal basis. This can include:
- Forming a recovery action plan
- Directing clients to resources
- Assisting clients with healthcare options
- Assisting with addictive behaviors
- Act as a “sober companion” to help clients avoid relapse
- Providing accountability and support
SpringBoard Recovery: Professional Alcohol Addiction Treatment
SpringBoard Recovery, located in Scottsdale (just outside Phoenix), Arizona, is a professional drug and alcohol rehab center, and offers an accredited intensive outpatient alcohol treatment program, helping our clients successfully recover from their own history of alcohol abuse.
Our clients travel from all over the U.S. to receive their personalized alcohol use disorder treatment with us, with many staying in our on-site, substance-free Recovery Housing accommodation.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT – World Health Organization). 2021. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Addiction (NIAAA). Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder. April, 2021. Available at NIAAA.gov.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence. June, 2014. Available at NLM.NIHgov.
- Alcoholics Anonymous. Homepage. 2021. Available at AA.org.
- SMART Recovery. Search SMART Recovery Meetings in Your Area. 2021. Available at SMARTRecovery.org.
- LifeRing Secular Recovery. Homepage. 2021. Available at LifeRing.org.
- Celebrate Recovery. Homepage. 2021. Available at CelebrateRecovery.com.
Want to find out if your alcohol consumption is considered, safe, risky, or typical of someone with an Alcohol Use Disorder? Take the 10-question AUDIT test (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) designed by the World Health Organization to find out – It’s the world’s most widely used alcohol screening instrument.