Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) Screening Tool

October 10, 2022

Table of Contents

If you are worried that you drink too much or may have a problem with alcohol, the AUDIT screening tool can help. It is meant to help you determine if you have patterns of excessive alcohol consumption. It can help identify alcohol dependence and some of the specific consequences and risks of problem drinking. 

Almost 30 million people in the United States had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2020.[1] If you struggle with alcohol use, you are not alone.

What Is AUDIT?

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, or AUDIT, was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a tool to screen for excessive and hazardous drinking patterns.[2] It can be used in screening and brief intervention (SBI) by a clinician. 

AUDIT can serve as a framework for intervention, encouraging people with alcohol use disorders to identify risky drinking behaviors and then seek treatment services. 

Purpose of AUDIT

AUDIT is meant to help people self-diagnose issues with excessive or risky drinking. Primary care and health care professionals can use it as a screening tool during an office visit, or a patient can also ask themselves the questions at home. AUDIT can be a helpful tool for either clinicians or individuals to help assess if a person has drinking behavior that might be a problem. 

Take the Test

To take the self-report Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, ask yourself the following 10 questions and put an X in the box that describes your answer:[3]

Questions 0 1 2 3 4
How often do you have an alcoholic beverage? Never Monthly 2–4 times per month 2–3 times per week 4 or more times per week
When drinking, how many drinks containing alcohol do you consume on a typical day? 1–2 times per month 3–4 times per month 5–6 times per month 7–9 times per week 10 or more times per week
How often do you have 6 or more drinks in a sitting? Never Less than monthly Monthly Weekly Daily or nearly daily
How often during the past year have you been unable to stop drinking once you started? Never Less than monthly Monthly Weekly Daily or nearly daily
How often during the past year have you not done what was expected of you due to drinking? Never Less than monthly Monthly Weekly Daily or nearly daily
How often in the past year have you needed a first drink in the morning to get going after a heavy drinking session? Never Less than monthly Monthly Weekly Daily or nearly daily
How often in the last year have you experienced feelings of remorse or guilt after drinking? Never Less than monthly Monthly Weekly Daily or nearly daily
How often in the past year were you unable to remember what happened while drinking the night before? Never Less than monthly Monthly Weekly Daily or nearly daily
Have you or someone else been injured because of your drinking? No Yes, but not in the last year Yes, during the last year
Has a family member, friend, or health care worker suggested you cut down on your drinking or been concerned about your drinking? No Yes, but not in the last year Yes, during the last year

Results of AUDIT & What They Mean

Tally your total score based on the 0–4 range for each of the 10 questions. If you score an 8 or higher, you could have hazardous or risky alcohol use. The higher your score, the more significant the issues and the more likely you are to have alcohol dependence and/or an alcohol use disorder. 

It is important to understand that AUDIT bases an alcoholic drink in terms of a “standard drink” as defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).[4] These are the guidelines:

  • One 12-ounce beer with around 5% alcohol content
  • 8–9 ounces of malt liquor at 7% alcohol content
  • One 5-ounce glass of wine at 12% alcohol content
  • One shot, or 1.5 ounces, of distilled spirits at around 40% alcohol content

When to Seek Help for AUD

If you score an 8 or higher on AUDIT, it can be time to seek professional help. If you are experiencing negative consequences related to drinking and are unable to stop drinking even when you try to, this is a sign of compulsive alcohol use and possible alcohol use disorder. 

Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. If you have been drinking significantly for a long period of time, don’t suddenly stop drinking without professional help. Medical detox using medications and supportive professional care are essential to safely withdraw from alcohol.

Where to Find Help for Alcohol Misuse

Treatment for alcohol use disorder can vary greatly based on your specific needs. There are a variety of options available, ranging from inpatient care to outpatient services. 

Your primary care provider can often refer you to treatment programs that are appropriate for your situation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also provides a tool to help you find treatment services near you.[5] Do your research to ensure you find the best treatment program for your needs.

Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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Citations

  1. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2020-nsduh-annual-national-report. October 2021. Accessed August 2022.
  2. AUDIT: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test: Guidelines for Use in Primary Health Care. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-MSD-MSB-01.6a. November 2001. Accessed August 2022.
  3. AUDIT. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/audit.pdf. Accessed August 2022.
  4. What is a Standard Drink? National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/what-standard-drink. Accessed August 2022.
  5. FindTreatment.gov. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://findtreatment.gov/. Accessed August 2022.

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