Alcohol Abuse Dependency Self-Assessment Calculator
Are you worried that you might be addicted to alcohol? Or are you concerned about a loved one? Try our new alcohol dependency self-assessment calculator to find out more.
Disclaimer: Our self-assessment tool uses an algorithm that combines publicly available data, private surveys conducted amongst ultra-high-net-worth families, private clinics, and knowledge obtained from Paracelsus Recovery’s experts.
However, it cannot be overstated that the calculator is a mere statistical tool and has no predictive power. While our research team conducted a detailed study and only used scientific data to construct this model, data always has limits in assessing emotional and subjective experiences.
Instead, it will provide you with a visual and data-based insight into your relationship with alcohol. We also hope our advice can provide guidance if your results signal that you are struggling. Please seek professional help if you are worried that you may risk harming yourself or others. Above all else, if you are in pain, please seek the help and support you deserve.
What is Alcohol Abuse Dependency?
The World Health Organisation defines alcohol abuse dependency as a chronic, progressive, and treatable condition in which the person loses control over their drinking to such a degree that it has interfered with vital areas of their life. Classic symptoms include cravings, compulsive consumption, tolerance, and dependency such that you only feel ‘normal’ when under the effects of alcohol.
At Paracelsus Recovery, we elaborate upon the WHO’s definition and see alcohol abuse dependency as a coping mechanism. Above all else, alcohol dependency is not a moral failing; it is not your fault, and you are not weak-willed. These negative ideas are born of stereotypes, stigmas, and misunderstandings. Your brain is hard-wired to survive and to do that, alcohol becomes part of your survival kit. It helped you cope with difficult emotions and thoughts until they became unhelpful. Punishing yourself will only worsen your suffering, which we are sure is already far more than you deserve.
For example, we believe that alcohol dependency originates in specific patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour. These are, in turn, a response to trauma, unhappy childhoods, stress in current circumstances, relational challenges in marriage, family life, business or a disconnect from self and others.
For example, in the overwhelming majority of cases, those of us who go on to develop an alcohol dependency started drinking during our adolescence. At that time in our development, figuring out who we are, where we fit in and ultimately what ‘tribe’ we belong to is paramount. However, if we struggle with underlying mental health issues, low self-esteem, trauma, or any other complex emotion, it alienates us from others. While many of us had friends and an active social life, we felt afraid and insecure, battling a harsh and often brutal inner critic. Neurochemically, this means that we lacked certain feel-good neurochemicals that would have enabled us to feel like we were enough.
But then, we started drinking alcohol. Its intoxicating effects increased the number of those ‘feel-good’ neurochemicals. As a result, alcohol made us feel ‘normal,’ which gave us access to those essential feelings of belonging and connection. Not yet able to comprehend the consequences of our actions, all our brain knew to tell us was this is great; when we drink, we can function like other people.
But unfortunately, these neural pathways that form during our adolescence become ingrained and the prolonged alcohol abuse – which is often manageable to some extent in the beginning – creates changes in the brain that opens the doorway to dependency. For example, one such change is how after prolonged and repeated alcohol abuse, our brain adjusts to these surges in dopamine. Neurons will begin to reduce their number of dopamine receptors or make less dopamine. As a result, withdrawal symptoms occur because we are much less stable or happy – much more so than someone without an addiction — when the effect of the substance wears off.
It is essential to understand that alcohol dependency is progressive. This means that if you are suffering, it is more likely that it will get worse without help than better. To overcome an alcohol dependency, you need to reconstruct these neural pathways. To do that, you must understand and process the underlying difficult emotions and thoughts that first created that neurochemical deficit.
What Causes Alcohol Addiction?
- Genetic Disposition: Studies show some specific genetic factors that make people more likely to develop an alcohol abuse dependency. For example, a family history of substance abuse increases your chances of developing one. However, it is essential to remember the overlap between learnt behaviour, genetic Disposition, and the hard truth that it can be traumatic growing up with addiction.
- Trauma: In our experience, underlying traumas are the number one cause of alcohol abuse dependency. When we think of trauma, events like an accident, assault, military combat, or natural disaster come to mind. While these are undoubtedly traumatic, it is more nuanced. Any situation that renders us powerless and frightened can be traumatic. Hence, childhood or domestic abuse is also highly traumatic. Even overnight fame or elements of the pandemic can invoke a trauma response.
- Underlying Mental Health Issues: Alcohol abuse often occurs as a coping mechanism for underlying mental health issues that we might even be unaware we are battling. For example, depression is exhausting, tough on our self-esteem, often cruel, and creates a considerable neurochemical deficit. Alcohol can help us momentarily boost our mood and detach from these difficulties. Similar situations occur in cases of anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders and eating disorders, to name just a few.
- Loneliness: Human beings are tribal creatures, and we have always thrived when we feel connected and supported by others. As a result, loneliness can set the stage for substance abuse dependency because feeling disconnected from others is excruciating. Alcohol functions as a way of numbing – and thereby coping – with that pain.
- Stress: Some stress hormones are linked to alcohol misuse. If stress and anxiety levels are high, a person may consume alcohol to detach from the pain that comes with those hormones.
Alcohol Abuse Treatment at Paracelsus Recovery
Our priority is to understand your relationship with alcohol. During the treatment process, which takes place in the comfort and privacy of your clinical residence, we identify the underlying causes and effects of the dependency in a thorough 360-degree assessment. This includes an extensive medical check-up, psychiatric evaluation, comprehensive laboratory tests, a functional health assessment, and nutrition and lifestyle assessment.
With this information, we will design and implement a comprehensive and individually tailored programme to address each underlying issue. Our psychotherapeutic team will help you manage those underlying neural pathways, and our medical team will help you address any physical problems brought on by alcohol abuse. We will do everything within our power to ensure we can heal every issue both causing and caused by alcohol abuse dependency. We will also pay special attention to co-occurring conditions such as depression, anxiety, borderline or eating disorders. If necessary, a medically safe withdrawal from alcohol will be the first step in your recovery.
We also adopt a harm-reductionist approach to alcohol abuse. This means that whether you need to stop drinking altogether or find a way to drink in moderation is a decision that remains with you. What we do is provide you with the tools needed to be able to make that decision. In other words, we will help you regain control over your relationship with the substance. More than that, we hope to provide you with the emotional fulfilment, self-esteem and sense of inner wholeness that was previously lacking and led to dependency.
We work exclusively with UHNW individuals whose mental health challenges often go unnoticed due to the misconception that financial security ensures mental stability. We only treat one client at any time and provide the strictest confidentiality. Our international team of highly qualified professionals will work with you around the clock to assist your recovery, seven days a week.
Results / Answers
1–5: Very Low Risk of Dependency
Based on your answers, you have a very low risk of developing alcohol abuse dependency. That being said, very low risk does not mean no risk. In choosing to complete this self-assessment, it shows us that you are aware of the risks and you are mindful of your engagement with these addictive substances. Try to stay self-aware and watch out for any warning signs.
Or it could signal that you are concerned about various symptoms you or a loved one are showing. While not indicative of alcohol abuse, it could indicate that you are struggling with other difficulties. For example, it could indicate that you are struggling with an anxiety disorder that leads you to irrationally fear that your behaviour is pathological. Click here to learn more about the signs and symptoms of anxiety and how we can help you overcome it.
5–10: Low Risk of Dependency
Based on your answers, you have a low risk of developing alcohol abuse dependency. That being said, low risk does not mean no risk. In choosing to complete this self-assessment, it shows us that you are aware of the risks and you are mindful of your engagement with these addictive substances. Try to stay self-aware and watch out for any warning signs.
Or it could signal that you are concerned about symptoms you or a loved one are showing. For example, perhaps you have recently behaved in a manner that you find concerning in regards to you substance abuse intake. If you have recently partaken in binge drinking or found your alcohol intake has increased, perhaps there are stressors in your life that you are struggling to navigate. We recommend reaching out to a loved one to discuss these concerns as soon as possible.
10–15: Risk of Depression
Based on your answers, you have a moderate risk of developing depression. This means you may be developing a few classic symptoms but do not yet have enough to be diagnosed with alcohol abuse dependency.
However, just because something is not yet severe enough to be considered diagnosable, that does not mean you shouldn’t address it. Like any progressive condition, you have the best chance of a long-term recovery the sooner you address the issue. Ideally, we recommend reaching out to your GP or finding psychotherapeutic assistance.
If these are not an option, please reach out to a loved one and share that you are struggling. Working together, try to figure out what triggers your cravings – however minor – and take steps to implement a healthier coping mechanism. For example, if stress triggers an urge to drink, try to implement a plan to instead go for a walk, watch a funny movie, call a friend, or do anything you like that can increase your feel-good chemicals without harming your health. Further, remain extra mindful and look for any warning signs that your dependency is worsening.
15–20: Moderate Risk of Dependency
Based on your answers, you have a considerable risk of developing alcohol abuse dependency. This means you may be in the midst of that dependency.
We are sorry to hear that you are struggling. Alcohol abuse dependency is a painful infliction to battle, and it can destroy our relationships, career, self-esteem, and sense of self-worth. While undoubtedly challenging, please remember that recovery is possible, and help is available.
Try to remain extra-vigilant and look out for any warning signs that your alcohol abuse requires immediate assistance. These include:
- Suicidal ideation or depressive symptoms
- Signs of physical dependency such as the shakes, sweating, seizures or hallucinations
- Inability to drink alcohol without blacking out
- Development of physical health issues like liver problems, various cancers, high blood pressure or heart disease.
- Use of illicit substances alongside alcohol (because it feels as though alcohol ‘no longer cuts it’)
- Signs of an alcohol overdose include sweating, rapid heartbeat, uneven breathing, or being comatose.
We would highly recommend reaching out to your GP or finding psychological support as soon as possible. If seeking professional help is not an option, please reach out to a loved one and let them know you are struggling. However, it will be hard to regain control over your health against a backdrop of exhaustion, cravings and withdrawal so please seek out support groups. Feeling isolated can fuel the inner critic and worsen your chances of long-term recovery.
Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.
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