This self-evaluation quiz aims to help you evaluate the severity of your drinking issue. Please note it is not intended to substitute for a formal diagnosis.

Go through the 11 yes-or-no questions below, and note how many receive a “yes” answer:

Impaired control

  • Have you found yourself often drinking more than you had planned or for a longer period of time than you meant?
  • Have you for a while wanted or tried to cut back on your use of alcohol, but were unable to (such as making rules for yourself concerning how much you will drink, but unable to stick to them)?
  • Do you spend a great deal of time finding, using, or recovering from alcohol?
  • Do you find yourself thinking about alcohol frequently or unable to get rid of the urge to drink until you have acted on it by drinking?

Social/Occupational Impairment

  • Has your use of alcohol get in the way of your fulfilling important role obligations, such as school/work responsibilities, household chores, financial responsibilities, or caring for children or other loved ones?
  • Have you lost interest in social, professional, or recreational activities, such as your hobbies or spending time with family or friends, while increasing the time you spend drinking?
  • Have you repeatedly used alcohol when it was hazardous to do so, such as while driving a car or operating heavy machinery? or repeatedly gotten into dangerous situations due to your drinking?

Persistent use despite negative consequences

  • Have you experienced social or relationship problems due to your use of alcohol and kept using anyway?
  • Have you kept using alcohol, knowing that drinking has caused or worsened the existing psychological or medical problems, such as depression, anxiety, or cardiovascular diseases?

Withdrawal and Tolerance

  • Have you needed to use more alcohol to feel the desired effect, or noticed that the same amount of alcohol doesn’t do what it used to do?
  • When you attempt to cut back on or stop your use of alcohol, have you experienced uncomfortable physical or mental health symptoms?

Result:

If you have answered yes to 2-3 questions, a mild substance use disorder could be diagnosed.

If you have answered yes to 4-5 questions, it indicates a moderate substance use disorder.

If you have answered yes to 6 or more questions, a severe substance use disorder is likely.

* Again, please remember it is not intended to substitute for a formal diagnosis.

Now that you have done the self-evaluation for problematic drinking, if you fall into the moderate or severe categories, you may find yourself feeling conflicted by the result—perhaps part of you feels the need to drink less, but another part of you is upset, frustrated, or even scared by the idea of cutting back—if you feel this way, you are not alone.

What you are experiencing is normal. In psychological terms, we call it ambivalence. Ambivalence is not something unique only problematic drinkers experience. When there is change, there is ambivalence. People experience it when they want to change a job, start a new routine, or cut down on junk food.

Ambivalence is normal, but unpleasant, like a never-ending internal tug-of-war. If you have been trying to set some limits on your drinking, you might already be quite familiar with this unpleasant mental state.

Without help, people sometimes can remain stuck in ambivalence for a long time. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to move through ambivalence faster, for example, starting with examining the pros and cons both for change and not change.

If you would like a safe space to talk freely about your relationship with alcohol—examine both what is working for you and what is not—please join me at this Free Sober Curiosity workshop.