Testing for Alcohol Problems
Updated: Jul 23
Is your drinking a problem? The following two tests could help you decide.
(Bear in mind, neither test qualifies as a medical diagnosis – the tests are designed to alert people to the likelihood of hazardous drinking. For a professional opinion, please see your doctor).
1) The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT)
is a 10-item screening tool developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to assess alcohol consumption, drinking behaviours, and alcohol-related problems.
Answer the AUDIT questions in terms of standard drinks. WHO defines a “standard drink” as one with 10g of pure alcohol, roughly equivalent to a half pint, a single measure spirit, or a small glass of wine. In the UK a standard drink, also called a unit, has about 8 grams of pure alcohol.
Scoring instructions: Each response is scored using the numbers at the top of each column. Write the appropriate number associated with each answer in the right-hand column. Then add all numbers in that column to obtain the total score.
A score of 8 or more indicates hazardous or harmful alcohol use.
The AUDIT has been validated across genders and in a wide range of racial/ethnic groups. You can find out more on the World Health Organisation’s website: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2001/who_msd_msb_01.6a.pdf
2) CAGE questionnaire
CAGE is derived from the four questions of the tool: Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, and Eye-opener
Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover (eye-opener)?
CAGE Questions Adapted to Include Drug Use (CAGE-AID)
Have you ever felt you ought to cut down on your drinking or drug use?
Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking or drug use?
Have you felt bad or guilty about your drinking or drug use?
Have you ever had a drink or used drugs first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover (eye-opener)?
Scoring: CAGE questions are scored 0 for "no" and 1 for "yes" answers, with a higher score being an indication of alcohol problems. A total score of two or greater is considered clinically significant.
CAGE Source: Ewing 1984
If you are still not sure about your alcohol or drug use, try this Alcoholics Anonymous questionnaire at: https://www.aa.org/pages/en_us/is-aa-for-you-twelve-questions-only-you-can-answer
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings are widely available, free and there is no waiting list
Alcoholics Anonymous website: https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk Helpline: 0800 9177 650, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Narcotics Anonymous website: https://ukna.org Helpline: 0300 999 1212