There are many questionnaires that have been developed for assessing problem drinking. One way to measure this is to look at the effects that drinking has had on your life. People who are social drinkers may occasionally suffer problems because of their drinking, but it is rare.
On the other hand, people with alcoholism *usually* suffer with problems as a result of their drinking. These problems may be in any area of life: medical illness, interference in relationships with family or friends, trouble at work, legal and financial difficulties, or emotional distress (depression, guilt).
So, trouble due to drinking is a good way to assess whether you have alcoholism. However, psychoanalysts also have another way to find out about this. A psychoanalyst is interested not only in the *results* of drinking, but also in its causes.
As anyone who has alcoholism can tell you, he or she suffers with an intense inner emotional drive to drink regardless of its disastrous results. It is the presence of this inner drive to drink that really defines alcoholism, not just the consequences of drinking. Looking at drinking this way, here are some questions to think about.
If you anwered yes to some of these questions, it would be worthwhile to talk with someone who is expert in alcoholism, and preferably someone who also is expert in understanding people's psychology. A list of psychoanalysts with a special interest in alcoholism and addictions is available on this website.
Written by Lance M. Dodes, M.D.