Do you have a problem with alcohol? Does your alcohol use classify as “normal”? These are common questions, and multiple testing options have been designed to answer them.
There are hundreds of different alcohol assessments used by doctors and clinicians to identify alcohol abuse or an alcohol use disorder in patients. Depending upon the context of the screening (e.g., a doctor’s office, an emergency room visit, a psychiatrist’s office, etc.) and the patient in question, different tests may be more or less appropriate.
But how would someone know if they need to seek professional help? Fortunately, the tools used by clinicians are openly available online, and anyone can use them to give themselves or a loved one a non-clinical assessment. It is important to remember that while these tools can be used at home, the results do not provide an official diagnosis. They may be a starting point for someone to give to their doctor to seek guidance. The results may also be a way to begin self-treatment if a person is not yet ready to seek professional help.
The primary tools to test and screen oneself at home are alcohol questionnaires that help establish if there is a drinking problem.
Screening for Alcohol Abuse at Home
Not everyone needs to go to the doctor to determine whether or not they have a problem with alcohol. However, there are advantages to getting the professional help that isn’t available at home, including insurance coverage and treatment for co-occurring conditions. Some people with alcohol addiction may benefit from prescription treatments that they can’t obtain on their own.
However, a professional assessment is not required if the goal is to simply identify whether or not treatment is needed. Many self-assessments are available to help readers determine whether or not their use of alcohol is becoming a serious issue.
Some sample questions include:
- Do you lie about how much you drink, how often you drink or if you are under the influence?
- Do you become angry when anyone questions your drinking habits?
- Are you often late to work or call in sick because you are hungover?
- Have you ever driven after drinking?
- Have you ever been arrested for illegal behaviors under the influence?
- Have you ever tried to moderate your drinking but been unsuccessful?
- Do you find that you have to drink more and more to feel the effects?
- Do you feel ill at ease if you are unable to drink or if you have to wait to get a drink?
- Do you turn to alcohol to assist you in dealing with emotions like anger, happiness, grief, depression or boredom?
- Has your doctor expressed concern about your health due to the effects of your drinking?
- Have your loved ones told you that they feel you drink too much, too often or at inappropriate times?
Other Common Alcohol Assessment Tools
Some of the most commonly utilized alcohol abuse tests include:
- Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). The AUDIT can identify an alcohol use issue experienced by the patient within the last year. A score of 8+ out of 10 is an indicator of harmful alcohol use. Take the AUDIT.
- CAGE. A four-question screening test that can help to identify an alcohol use disorder at any point in a person’s life. The name of the test comes from the questions that ask about cutting down, the annoyance of others, feelings of guilt, and if eye-opener drinking is an issue. Take the CAGE assessment.
- MAST. The Michigan Alcohol Screening Test, or MAST, is one of the oldest and most widely used tools for detecting alcohol abuse. Multiple variations have been created. In addition to current drinking habits, these questions address a self-evaluation of societal, occupational and family issues related to excessive drinking. Take the MAST.
- T-ACE. Similar to and based upon the CAGE test, this test is comprised of four more questions to identify a range of alcohol issues, including prenatal drinking. The name comes from the questions that touch upon tolerance, being annoyed by others’ criticism of drinking, the need to cut down, and the eye-opener issue.
Find Help to Overcome Addiction
If you are concerned that your drinking habits are becoming a problem, but you are unable to stop drinking on your own, The Recovery Village can help. Call now for more information about our treatment services. Begin your path to recovery today.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Frequently Asked Questions – Alcohol.” January 15, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020.
MedlinePlus. “Alcohol Withdrawal: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, April 9, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” February 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Researchers Identify Alcoholism Subtypes.” National Institutes of Health (NIH), June 28, 2007. Accessed May 12, 2020.
National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2018. “Results from the 2018 National Survey on[…]th: Detailed Tables.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2018. Accessed May 12, 2020.
Chang, Grace, et. al. “Identification of Risk Drinking Women: T[…] the Medical Record.” Journal of Womens Health. October 2010. Accessed May 12, 2020.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.