If you ever considered that you might have a drinking problem but just wasn't sure, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has recently launched an online portal called the Alcohol Treatment Navigator. The portal features important information about alcoholism, as well as a couple of questionnaires to help you assess whether or not you have a problem.
Alcohol-use disorder (AUD), more commonly referred to as alcoholism, affects a whopping 208 million people worldwide (4.1% of the adult population). In the United States, about 17 million (7%) of adults are affected by AUD.
However, despite these striking statistics, most individuals never seek help -- sometimes because they don't think they have a problem, and other times because they don't even realize it. With that in mind, the National Institute of Health (NIH), which runs NIAAA, launched a portal that tackles both problems.
“We now know that there’s a full spectrum in alcohol use disorder,” George Koob, the director of the NIAAA told NPR. “A lot of people struggling with alcohol problems do not know where to turn. 90% of adults in the U.S. with an alcohol use disorder don’t get any treatment whatsoever.”
For starters, there's a simple questionnaire which assesses whether or not you might have a problem with alcohol. It's recommended to start from there. You either tick or leave black 11 statements. Then, there's a quiz to assess your “drinking pattern.” After doing both quizzes myself, I've found some reason for concern: apparently, I've had more “heavy drinking days” in the past year than 7 out of 10 U.S. adults. The other quiz reported:
You checked 2 symptom(s). Even one or two could be a reason for concern, depending on the particular symptom(s) and the severity. The symptoms toward the top of the list tend to be early signs of potential trouble, whereas the ones further down the list indicate that you have moved further down a risky path.
The website also shows you how to find high-quality treatment, how to search for us, and what the costs might be. It also offers support if it's not yourself that's suffering, but a loved one. It’s all private, offering complete discretion, and most importantly its reliable. It offers evidence-based treatment options -- treatment that's grounded in the best available scientific research, with demonstrable improvements.
If you do suspect you have a problem or you know someone who might, I can't recommend this tool enough.
Alcohol use is generally treated casually but alcoholism is a big problem and a growing one at that. Between 2002 and 2013, overall drinking increased by 11%, while ‘high risk’ drinking (four or more alcoholic drinks a day) rose by 30%. Even casual drinking increases cancer risk, whereas heavy drinking is linked to a myriad of health problems.