Alcohol self-assessment

 

 

Are you drinking too much?

If you're worried about the amount you are drinking, take this short test.

 

It'll help you to assess the effects of your drinking and if it suggests you're drinking too much, you'll get advice on how to cut down or seek further help. 

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. In a typical month, how often do you have a drink containing alcohol?

 

a) Never (0 points)

b) Once a month or less (1 points)

c) 2 to 4 times a month (2 points)

d) 2 to 3 times a week (3 points)

e) 4 or more times a week (4 points)

 

2.How many units of alcohol do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?

 

1-2 (0 points)

3-4 (1 point)

 5-6 (2 points)

7-8 (3 points)

9+ (4 points)

What is a unit?

You can't just count each drink as a unit of alcohol. The number of units depends on the different strength and size of each drink, so it can vary a lot.

Here are some examples:

 

3.How often do you have six or more units on one occasion?

 

a) Never (0 points)

b) Less than monthly (1 points)

c) Monthly (2 points)

d) Weekly (3 points)

e) Daily or almost daily (4 points)

WhatÕs binge drinking?

Binge drinking usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk. 

There is no consistently agreed measure of binge drinking but drinking more than eight units on any day for men, and more than six units for women, is the measure normally used.

The vital thing is to avoid drinking heavily in one session or drinking to intoxication.

Binge drinking is a major factor in accidents, violence and anti-social behaviour.

 

4. How often during the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of your drinking?

a) Never (0 points)

b) Less than monthly (1 points)

c) Monthly (2 points)

d) Weekly (3 points)

e) Daily or almost daily (4 points)

 

5.How often during the last year have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?

           

a) Never (0 points)

b) Less than monthly (1 points)

c) Monthly (2 points)

d) Weekly (3 points)

e) Daily or almost daily (4 points)

 

6. How often during the last year have you needed an alcoholic drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?

           

a) Never (0 points)

b) Less than monthly (1 point)

c) Monthly (2 points)

d) Weekly (3 points)

e) Daily or almost daily (4 points)

 

7.How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?

 

a) Never (0 points)

b) Less than monthly (1 points)

c) Monthly (2 points)

d) Weekly (3 points)

e) Daily or almost daily (4 points)

 

8.How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?

 

a) Never (0 points)

 

b) Less than monthly (1 point)

c) Monthly (2 points)

d) Weekly (3 points)

e) Daily (4 points)

 

9.Have you or somebody else been injured as a result of your drinking?

 

a) No, this has never happened (0 points)

b) Yes, but not in the past year (2 points)

c) Yes, during the past year (4 points)

 

10.Has a relative, friend, doctor or health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?

           

a) No, never (0 points)

b) Yes, but not in the past year (2 points)

c) Yes, during the past year (4 points)


 

RESULTS

 

0-7 points

Based on your answers today you're drinking in a way that is sociable and is unlikely to harm your health.

 

As long as your drinking does remain within recommended levels, you are considered a 'lower-risk' drinker as there is only a low risk that the way you drink will contribute to future health problems.

 

The NHS recommends that women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day and men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day.

 

Drinking consistently within these limits is called 'lower-risk' rather than 'safe' because drinking alcohol is never completely safe.

 

Remember, there can be risks from one-off episodes of heavy drinking too.

 

8-19 points

Based on your answers today you are drinking at harmful levels.

 

The NHS recommends that women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day and men should not regularly drink more than 3-4. If you drink every day, itÕs recommended that you have at least two alcohol-free days a week.

 

Alcohol affects all parts and systems of the body and if you are regularly drinking above the guidelines, your risk of developing a serious illness is higher than non-drinkers. This includes cancer of the mouth, neck and throat, breast cancer in women, liver cirrhosis and high blood pressure.

 

At these levels of drinking, you may already have alcohol-related problems, such as fatigue or depression, weight gain, poor sleep and sexual problems. YouÕre probably in worse physical shape than you would be otherwise. Also, you could easily have higher blood pressure due to your drinking.

 

Some people argue a lot when they drink, which can negatively affect their relationships with family and friends.

 

The following can help you cut down:

¥    Work out a daily limit and stick to it.

¥    Do more activities that don't involve drinking.

¥    Eat before and while you're drinking.

¥    Don't let anyone top up your drinks.

¥    Tell your friends you're cutting down.

Count your units.

 

20-40 points

Based on your answers today you are drinking at harmful levels and your drinking is already causing you problems. 

 

The NHS recommends that women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day and men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day. If you drink every day, itÕs recommended that you have at least two alcohol-free days a week.

 

You have a much higher risk of developing alcohol-related health problems. Your body has probably suffered some damage already, even if youÕre not yet aware of it.

 

Compared to non-drinkers, if you regularly drink above higher-risk levels you could be: 

¥    3 to 5 times more likely to get cancer of the mouth, neck and throat.

¥    3 to 10 times more likely to develop liver cirrhosis

¥    Twice as likely to have an irregular heartbeat

¥    At four times the risk of having high blood pressure as a man, and women are at least twice as likely to develop it

¥    As a woman - around 1.5 times as likely to get breast cancer

At these levels of drinking, you may already have alcohol-related problems, such as fatigue or depression, weight gain, poor sleep and sexual problems. YouÕre probably in worse physical shape than you would be otherwise. Also, you could easily have higher blood pressure due to your drinking.

 

Some people argue a lot when they drink, which can negatively affect their relationships with family and friends.

 

If you want help to reduce your drinking, you can find local alcohol services in 'Useful Links' or your GP will be able to help you find them. You can also contact the National Drinkline 0800 917 8282 open 24 hours, seven days a week.

USEFUL LINKS

Find services near you

Where to get help if you need it

Real story: how I stopped drinking

The effects of binge drinking

Social drinking: the risks

WhatÕs in a unit?

 

NHS Choices 2013