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C= linical Psychology Associates of North Central Florida, P.A. =

Providing Quality Psychological Consultation, Assessment and Psychotherapy to the North Central Florida Community         &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;     CPANCF.COM

 

2121 NW 40th Terr. Ste = B, Gainesville FL 32605<= /b> =  &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;             &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;                 =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;   

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How do I know I have an alcohol pr= oblem?

by Kay Hurlock, Psy.D.<= /st1:PersonName>

 

The question of whether or not one has an alcohol p= roblem is not an unusual question since many individuals enjoy alcohol appropriate= ly and in moderation.  In 2006, at least half of Americans aged 12 and older reported they consumed alcohol. <= o:p>

 

A standard drink is usually considered one beer, a = glass a wine or a shot of liquor.

 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2007) approximately 7% reported heavy drinking.  Heavy drinking is defined as consu= ming 5 or more standard drinks on one occasion on each of 5 or more days in the pa= st 30 days.  An episode of drinki= ng 5 or more standard drinks in a day is commonly referred to as a binge.  While many normal drinkers may occasionally have such a binge episode on a special occasion over a number = of hours, 4-5 or more such binges a month would meet the definition of heavy or abusive drinking and is associated with adverse health effects.  Acute effects of a binge may be tr= emors, increased blood pressure, early morning awakening.  This is not entirely benign, every= year one or more high school athletes with underlying cardiac conditions will die when under the stress of practice or a game after a night of binging.<= /o:p>

 

It is estimated that 9% of adults suffer and alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence problem.  With these numbers, you would be an exception if you did not know someone, perhaps a relative, friend, co-worker or neighbor, who has abused = or become dependent on alcohol.  = There are = differences between men and women in patterns and prevalence of alcohol-related problem= s.

 

Given the acceptability of alcohol consumption in o= ur culture it can be difficult for an individual to distinguish whether their drinking is “normal” or not.&n= bsp; In general, if you are questioning if your behavior is “normal,” it is worthwhile to pause and consider the topic. 

 

If you consume alcohol and are concerned about your drinking, there are a number of questions including those below which may h= elp you identify if you have a problem.  If these questions raise your doubts, or if you already have any dou= bt about whether or not you have a drinking problem, you should seek a full evaluation by a licensed healthcare professional. 

1.     Do you need to drink more alcohol than before, in o= rder to reach the same effect? 

2.     How often do you have six or more drinks on one occ= asion?

3.     Have you ever tried to cut down your drinking, but = found you were unable to?

4.     Have you ever felt guilty after drinking?

5.     Have you had financial difficulties as a result of drinking?

6.     Are you careless about your goals when drinking?

7.     Do you want a drink the morning following drinking?=

8.     Do you drink to escape from everyday life?

9.     Do you drink alone?

10.  Have you ever woke up and not remember the night be= fore?

11.  Do you drink to increase self-esteem?

12.  Have you ever been arrested for a DUI or public intoxication?

13.  Have you ever been hospitalized as a result of your drinking?

In addition to drinking problems and patterns associated with abuse and depend= ence, the current psychiatric diagnostic manual (DSM-IV) notes that diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence are warranted when = such problems cause interference in social, occupational or interpersonal functi= on, or sometimes health. 

Some questions you may want to ask yourself about interference with friendships = or relationships might be:=

1.     Have friends or family ever expressed concerns abou= t your alcohol use?

2.     Have you noticed increased arguing with your partne= r as a result of your drinking?

3.     Has your partner ever made comments such that you a= re “nicer” when you are drinking?

4.     Has your partner or family ever said they are going= to leave if you do not stop drinking?

5.     Does your drinking make you care less about your family’s wellbeing?

6.     Have you ever missed an important family event due = to drinking (i.e., child’s birthday, holiday dinner)?<= /b>

7.     When drinking, do you spend time with different fri= ends than you usually would?

8.     Do you find you would rather spend time alone than = with friends or family?

Questions regarding your work or school:

1.      Have = you ever missed work/school due to drinking or a hangover?

2.      Have = you ever drunk at work or school to “get through the day?”

3.      Are y= ou not performing up to your expected potential due to drinking?=

4.      Have = you ever been fired from a job or quit a job, without having another job?=

Some questions you may want to ask yourself about interfering with your health a= re:

1.     Has your primary care physician expressed concern a= bout your drinking?

2.     Have you stopped eating a balanced diet?=

3.     Do you often skip meals due to drinking?=

4.     Have you or someone else been hurt as a result of y= our drinking?

I= f you have any doubt, print these questions and answers and bring them to a family doctor, a psychiatrist or psychologist familiar with drug problems for a consultation.

Please call Clinical Psychology Associates of North Central Florida, P.A. at (352) 336-2= 888 for information about this or any of our programs. We are dedicated to providing quality psychological assessment, consultation, & treatment s= ervices to the North Central Florida Community.<= o:p>

References

N= ational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2005).  Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician’s Guide.  Rockville, MD

Nat= ional Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2004). Screening for Alcohol Use and Alcohol Related Problems.  NIAAA Newsletter (3), Rockville, MD. 

S= ubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2007).  Results from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-32, DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4293).  Rockville, MD.

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