Quiz: Is My Drinking Healthy?

Happy New Year! If you resolved to drink better this year, here is a handy tool for measuring your progress.

When you think about how healthy your drinking is, you may think of that moment in the doctor's office when your doctor asks you how many drinks you have per week. I've heard from a lot of people that they don't know what to say in that moment. What's the real number? What number does the doctor want to hear? Will the doctor believe me or double whatever answer I give?

Fear not. This year, you can be more confident that your drinking habits are healthy by taking this quiz by the World Health Organization. Grab a piece of paper, number it to 10, select your answer for each question, and write down the points in the parenthesis. You'll tally your score at the end.

Healthy Drinking Quiz

1. How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?

(0) Never

(1) Monthly or less     

(2) 2 to 4 times a month

(3) 2 to 3 times a week

(4) 4 or more times a week

 

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

(0) 1 or 2

(1) 3 or 4

(2) 5 or 6

(3) 7, 8, or 9

(4) 10 or more

 

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

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

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

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

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

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

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

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

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

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

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

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

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

(0) No

(2) Yes, but not in the last year

(4) Yes, during the last year

 

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

(0) No

(2) Yes, but not in the last year

(4) Yes, during the last year

 

Now add up your score! Scores between 0 and 8 indicate healthy alcohol use. If your score is between 9 and 15, there are opportunities to improve on your own. If your score is higher, you may consider speaking to a medical professional to get back on track.

 

Some quick tips to improve:

1. Take a break from drinking. Drynuary is the perfect time and a new study in the journal Healh Psychology shows that merely attempting to go drink-free for a month decreased participants’ alcohol consumption in the six months that followed.

2. Track your consumption. According to Michael McDonnell, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, "In study after study, we see that just objectively tracking your use of [a substance] will reduce your use."

3. Plan your drinking in advance. Studies show that self-control is like a muscle, it gets fatigued when taxed by difficult decision-making. The fact that happy hour falls at the end of a workday means that your self-control is at a low point. Preemptively deciding how much you plan to drink early in the day or week can help you avoid making impulsive decisions.  

 

Happy 2016!