Is an Alcohol Evaluation Always an Accurate Measure of Whether Someone’s an Alcoholic?

Like many diagnostic tests, alcohol evaluations must be useful to as wide a population of test-takers as possible; however, this general applicability of alcohol evaluations to an enormously diverse number of individual cases can also make the process of taking such a test confusing. After all, everyone is a unique individual with their own specific experiences of life; no one test can possibly encompass everyone’s experience with alcohol.

In general, these evaluations should be used as a rough guide to determine whether a person is struggling with alcoholism. And as is the case with all such tests, it is vital that test-takers are as honest with themselves as possible in answering questions posed on these evaluations.

How Denial Plays a Role in Alcoholism Assessments

Denial is a particularly tricky issue with regard to with alcohol evaluations because alcohol abuse tends to be psychologically linked to patterns of denial. For example, a person who is having work difficulties due to alcohol use may not perceive that their alcohol use is creating the difficulties that they are experiencing on the job. Furthermore, they may justify the loss of a job by blaming a boss or coworkers for their dismissal.

This is also often true of the effect that alcohol use can have on interpersonal communication: A person struggling with alcoholism may rationalize the end of a marriage by blaming other circumstances for the failure of the relationship. It is therefore vital to admit hard truths when completing an alcohol evaluation: The answers provided by an alcohol assessment may not always be pleasant, but admitting when alcohol did cause a problem in your life can help you to solve the central issues that may be affecting your jobs or relationships.

The Role of Denial in Alcohol Assessments

This is not to suggest that a person necessarily wants to deny that they have a problem with alcohol; indeed, most human beings find feelings of shame to be extraordinarily painful to examine in depth: They may be afraid that the discovery of a problem will lead to major life-changes. These can be frightening prospects for anyone.

It may also be difficult for family members and other loved ones of alcoholics to see the results of an alcoholism assessment for similar reasons. Often, family members struggle with the patterns of denial that are often shown by people who are experiencing problems related to alcohol use.

To outside observers such as family members, spouses, and friends, for example, the link between alcohol use and the experience of personal difficulties in a loved one’s day-to-day life may be patently obvious. But the person experiencing those difficulties may avoid dwelling on the root causes of those problems to minimize feelings of guilt.

Key Takeaways from Alcohol Evaluations

With these issues in mind, there are a few good rules of thumb when it comes to taking an alcohol evaluation and considering the results:

  • If things have gotten to the point where an alcohol evaluation feels necessary, this may be a sign that things are already at a problem stage with regard to drinking.
  • If other people have suggested taking an alcoholism assessment, this may in and of itself be a sign that alcohol use has become a problem.
  • While scary at first, the process of admitting that alcohol use has become a problem is actually a sign that things can change for the better. Recognizing that our own thinking is at times flawed and deciding to change that method of thinking is often a sign that things will improve.

What Alcohol Assessments Can’t Do

As previously mentioned, an alcohol assessment is merely a diagnostic tool that must be general in its descriptions in order to be useful to a wide range of people. Consulting with a professional who can further evaluate the role that alcohol plays in a person’s life can be a vital part of determining whether there is a problem that needs to be addressed in therapy or in treatment.

For example, an alcohol assessment may not cover all of the issues that a person is experiencing as a result of alcohol use. A person who abuses alcohol may still be functional at work and may even be proud of never missing a day at the office. They may even rationalize their use of alcohol by pointing to their perfect attendance record at their job.

But exceptions to general rules set out by alcohol evaluations do not necessarily prove that a person is not experiencing problems with alcohol in other areas of their life. Truly, considering the negative role that alcohol plays in our lives is not an easy or straightforward process. But the fact that you are reading material that is pertinent to this subject shows that you are willing to make tough changes to improve your life. If you feel that you are ready to make a step forward with regard to alcohol use, please call:  302-842-2390. We are here to help!

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