Ireland is renowned for its enjoyment of alcohol, and most social events revolve around drinking. Many people drink over the recommended guidelines on a regular basis. In this environment, it can sometimes be difficult to judge whether you are simply a heavy drinker, or whether you meet the criteria for alcohol dependency.
Although still very harmful to health, being a binge drinker does not necessarily mean that you meet the definition for being an alcoholic.
CAGE Addiction Questionnaire
If you think you might be an alcoholic, it is a good idea to ask yourself these questions. They are taken from the CAGE Brief Addiction Questionnaire and are designed to ascertain whether you meet the criteria for being an alcoholic.
- Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning (as an ‘Eye-opener’) to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
If you answered ‘yes’ to two of these questions it is possible that you have a drinking problem.
If you answered ‘yes’ to three of these questions you do have a problem and should get help.
Please attempt to do the more extensive questionnaire below.
Detailed Alcohol & Drug Questionnaire
Alcohol Dependence: Sample Questions for Assessment Based on Diagnostic Criteria*
A diagnosis of alcohol dependence requires that the patient meet three or more of the following criteria, occurring at any time during the previous 12-month period.
- Drinking more or longer than intended: Have there been times when found you had been drinking more than you intended or kept drinking for longer than you intended?
- Impaired Control: Have you repeatedly wanted to stop or cut down on your drinking, or often tried to stop or cut down but found you couldn’t?
- Tolerance: Have you found the need to drink more than previously to get the desired effect, or that your usual number of drinks has much less effect than it once did?
- Withdrawal syndrome or drinking to relieve withdrawal:
- When the effects of alcohol are wearing off, have you had trouble sleeping? Found yourself shaking, nervous, nauseous, restless, sweating or with your heart beating fast? Have you sensed things that aren’t really there? Have you had seizures?
- Have you taken a drink or used any drug to avoid the bad after-effects of drinking or to recover from them?
- Continued use despite recurrent psychological or physical problems: Have you continued to drink even though you knew it was making you feel depressed or anxious? Or causing a health problem or making one worse? Have you continued drinking after having had a blackout?
- Time spent related to drinking or recovering: Have you had a period when you spent a lot of time thinking about alcohol. drinking or recovering from the effects of drinking?
- Neglect of activities: In order to drink, have you given up or cut down on activities that were important or interesting to you or gave you pleasure?
* Ref. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/ Adapted by Dr. Margaret Ann McCann, Medical Director, Castle Craig Hospital
Research has shown that residential rehab treatment gives people suffering drug and alcohol addiction the best chance at recovery. At Smarmore Castle, they will become abstinent from drug and alcohol during a detox period, and will be immersed in an intensive programme of clinically proven addiction therapies. If you wish to receive more information, please call our admissions office, where our team are available to answer your questions 24/7.
- Support for Coping with Addiction
- Advice for Helping Someone with an Alcohol or Drug Problem
- Help and Advice for Gambling Addiction
Last updated & clinically assessed 4 February, 2021