Let’s get something out of the way right from the start: you’re the one reading this article. Only you. Not your parents, not your teachers, and not your friends. Just you. So there’s no reason to be anything other than completely honest. We mean honest with yourself, in your mind, as you read what we have to say and as you answer the questions on the quiz. “Yes” answers aren’t going to get you in trouble with your parents or busted at school. There are no official admissions of guilt, and nothing you think while you read this article will go down on any permanent record, anywhere. Which means any hedging or withholding would be self-defeating and kind of pointless. If that’s your plan, you might as well click the red “x” up in the corner of your browser and go on about your business.
The next thing we want to point out is this: if you’re asking yourself the question “Am I an alcoholic?” or if you’ve ever wondered, even just once “Do I drink too much?” then you need to pay attention to the why behind the question. Simply asking or wondering doesn’t mean the answer is an automatic “Yes,” but it does mean something. It means you’ve noticed something about your behavior and you want to dive deeper and figure it out.
This is a good thing to figure out sooner rather than later. Because if you wait too long, the consequences are not great. There are health risks, emotional risks, and developmental risks. After all, your brain is still growing and changing – you know that, right? And the longer you drink – if that’s what you’re doing – the more chance you have of negatively impacting your psychological, emotional, and physical health.
I Think I Just Drink Too Much
There’s an endless list of famous people who vehemently insisted they weren’t alcoholics, but would readily admit they simply drink too much. Forget just the famous ones – you probably know half a dozen (or more) people who say the exact same thing, from peers at school to adult in your life – when everyone and their brother know full well they have a drinking problem and need to do something about it. That’s the third thing we want to say to you: if your friends tell you they think you’re an alcoholic, and your response is anything like “Nah, I just drink too much,” then you need to get your head out of the sand and face some hard facts. If you drink every day, you might need a medical detox – because going cold turkey from daily alcohol use can be dangerous. If you just drink on the weekends, then test yourself: go six months without drinking and see how easy it is. If it’s no problem, then it’s likely you don’t have a problem. If it’s really hard, then you’ve taken the first step: you’ve got six months of sobriety under your belt.
At this point, we should remind you that the only people truly qualified to make a diagnosis about a mental health disorder are licensed mental health professionals like therapists or psychiatrists. Further, the only one who truly knows if you have a drinking problem is you. Everything we say here we say to give you knowledge, offer you resources, and point you in the right direction. We hope you’ll use and apply the knowledge wisely. If there’s every any doubt in your mind about how serious your issue is, the correct default choice is always to seek professional help.
Self-Assessment Quiz for Teens Who Drink
Okay, enough preamble. It’s time for you to get some answers. Ready?
Do I Have an Alcohol Problem? A Quiz for Teens
- Do you use alcohol and other drugs to feel more self-confident, more sociable, or more powerful?
- Do you ever drink or get high immediately after you have a problem at home or at school?
- Have you lost friends because of your alcohol or drug use, or started handing out with a drinking and drug-using crowd?
- Do you feel guilty or bummed out after using alcohol or other drugs?
- Do you ever wake up and wonder what happened the night before?
- Have you gotten in trouble at home or school, or missed school because of alcohol or other drugs?
- Have you ever been hospitalized because of alcohol or other drugs?
- Do your drink or do drugs more than your friends?
- Do you drink or do your drugs until your supply is all gone?
- Do you think you have a problem wit alcohol or other drugs?
[Note: the results of this test do not constitute a diagnosis and are not meant to replace a full evaluation by a mental health professional. This quiz is for your knowledge and understanding only]
How To Interpret Your Results
If you answer “Yes” to one or more question(s), then it’s a good idea to think more deeply about the way you use alcohol and drugs. That’s right – one “Yes” could indicate problem use. Here’s another thing: all the questions are carefully worded to require simple Yes/No answers. If you find yourself looking for gray area, between yes and no, that means you’re not being completely honest. A “Maybe” answer means you need to go back and be completely straight with yourself.
How to Find Help
When you’re ready to face the idea you might have a problem with alcohol or drugs, which mental health professionals call an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) or a Substance Use Disorder (SUD), there’s a wealth of online resources for you to consult. We strongly recommend talking to your parents, family, primary caregivers, or a trusted adult such as a teacher, coach, or school counselor – but if you’re not ready to do that, you can start with these websites:
- Teen Addiction Anonymous is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for teens.
- SMART Recovery for Teens is a non-12-Step (different than AA) recovery program for teens.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for Teens offers facts, figures, and other resources designed for teens.
- The Truth Campaign gives you the raw, uncut truth – sometimes it’s pretty harsh, but the truth does not care: it lays out the facts. You can make your own decisions once you know them.
- Your Room is an excellent resource provided by the government of Australia (G’day, mate!) to help teenagers learn and understand about alcohol and drug use and abuse.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA. He writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.