Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a tragically common occurrence. According to the latest information, roughly 28.6 million Americans over 12 suffer from an alcohol use disorder. This massive number indicates the trouble caused by alcoholism and that we need the best and most accurate tools to determine when a person suffers from this addiction.
Sometimes, it may be clear when an individual has an alcohol use disorder. Other times, it can be harder to determine. In instances like that, alcohol screenings can help determine if a person has an alcohol use disorder. When used properly, these screenings can help make a formal diagnosis. In certain instances, they can also assist an individual in learning and believing that they do have an alcohol use disorder and that treatment is necessary.
What Can An Alcohol Screening Do?
When used properly, an alcohol screening test can tell if a person may be suffering from an alcohol use disorder. These tests are questionnaires given in written or verbal form. They ask about someone’s drinking habits, overall health, mental state, and behavior while drinking.
A proper screening is clinically designed and developed by experts guided by rigorous scientific research. This is an important distinction, as you may run into online tests that ask, “Drinking too much? Click here to see if you are an alcoholic!” While these tests can potentially be informative — and may even be well-intended — they aren’t going to be as helpful as a test that has its basis in science and research.
Different screenings can also give different pieces of information. For example, some alcohol screening tests can not only determine if an individual has an alcohol use disorder but determine the severity of that illness. It is important to remember that a diagnostic tool for addiction is not meant to simply answer a question with a simple yes or no: whether or not someone has an alcohol use disorder is not necessarily a question with a binary answer.
Finally, an alcohol screening can be informative for making treatment decisions. Individuals suffering more significantly from an alcohol use disorder may need more intensive treatment, such as an in-patient hospitalization or a partial hospitalization program, and they may need to be in treatment for a longer time. Screenings can help show the severity of a disorder, then guide an individual into making the best treatment decisions for them.
What Are Accepted Alcohol Screening Methods?
There are multiple accepted alcohol screening tests that someone can use to determine the presence of an alcohol use disorder. They include:
- Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT): This test is only ten points and can be taken online. It asks questions about the frequency of drinking, binge drinking, and feelings associated with drinking. The test is graded on a point system, with a higher score indicating a more serious alcohol problem. A score of eight or more is considered the threshold for an alcohol use disorder.
- Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-C (AUDIT-C): This is an even shorter version of the already short AUDIT test. It is scored on a score of 0-12. Interestingly, different values may indicate the presence of an alcohol use disorder in men and women. A score of 4 or more in men is considered positive, while a score of 3 or more in women is positive.
- Cut Down Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener (CAGE): This test is just four questions about drinking behavior and feelings related to drinking. Answering yes to two or more questions may indicate an alcohol use disorder.
These tests all have numerous benefits. They are brief, and a person can take them online or independently. As such, these tests do not require an expert or proctor. This ease of administration means they are excellent tools to start someone down a path of getting treatment.
How Can A Family Member or Loved One Use an Alcohol Screening?
One of the greatest challenges of getting someone into treatment is having an individual admit that they have a problem. A person who has an alcohol addiction may be living in a state of denial. They may enjoy their behavior or not believe they have a problem. They may think their family members or loved ones are manipulating them for selfish reasons.
An alcohol screening can provide expert, outside information indicating a person has a problem with alcohol. The objective nature of the information may indicate to someone that they have a problem. While not necessary, a therapist can administer these tests. If results come back positive, they may help a therapist convince an individual with an AUD to seek additional or more intensive treatment.
These screenings are not meant to serve as an end-all for alcoholism. It may be the case that a person manipulates their answers or refuses to take a test honestly. However, they can be an incredibly useful tool to further guide treatment for a suffering individual.
Get Help for Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol screenings can be vital in helping a person identify when they have a problem with drinking, particularly when these tools are incorporated into an overall treatment plan. Olympus Treatment offers various treatment options and programs to help you or a loved one develop the tools necessary to overcome your addiction.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. Ready to take the next one? Contact Olympus Recovery in Delray Beach by visiting our website or calling 866-305-7134.