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Online Alcohol Assessments: Where to Find Them & Should You Trust Them?

June 17, 2022

Table of Contents

Almost 15 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).[1] Are you one of them? An online alcohol assessment could help you find out. These are generally tests or surveys you can take that help you to determine if you might have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Know that an assessment is just a first step. Use the results to help you connect with the professional help you need. 

4 Commonly Used Drug and Alcohol Screening Tests

Researchers have spent years determining the best way to screen for problem drinking. There are a plethora of screening tests that have been developed to help determine if an individual has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). These tests are sometimes administered during a routine health check up at a doctors office to help screen all patients. Other times, they can be found online for individuals who might want to take them in the privacy of their own home. Here are some common ones you might find either online or in a doctors office: 

1. Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST-10)

Don't let the name of this screening tool scare you. Researchers developed this test for drug use, but it works well to help you understand alcohol misuse as well. It consists of 28 questions, a few of which include:

  • Have you had blackouts or flashbacks as a result of drug use?
  • Do your friends or relatives know or suspect that you abuse drugs?
  • Have you ever lost a job because of drug abuse?

Take the test and score your results. You'll be done in less than 10 minutes.[2] DAST-10 provides an effective measurement of drug use.[3]

2. NIDA Quick Screen 

The name of this test is misleading, as it is actually seven pages long. If you're concerned about alcohol misuse alone, focus on the first page of questions only. If you take alcohol with other substances, keep moving through the entire test. [4]

3. CAGE questionnaire 

CAGE is meant to be a short screen of just 4 questions. It is an acronym”: C stands for “cut back” which asks about whether or not you have ever tried to cut back on drinking. “A” stands for “annoyed” and asks about whether others in your life have ever been annoyed or angered by your drinking habits. G stands for “Guilt” which asks if you have ever felt guilty about your drinking, and E stands for “Eye opener” which asks if you have ever needed a drink early in the day in order to function. These four questions, if positive, are highly predictive of someone having a potential problem with alcohol.[6, 7]

4. CRAFFT Questionnaire 

Researchers developed this test for people ages 12 to 21.[8] Honest answers help doctors understand just how their patients put their future health at risk. But the same tool could help adults understand how they put their safety at risk. 

Answer questions such as these:

  • Have you ever ridden in a car driven by someone (including yourself) who was high or had been using alcohol or drugs?
  • Do you ever forget things you did while using alcohol or drugs?
  • Do you ever use alcohol or drugs while you are alone?

See all of the questions and read through notes for doctors.[9] 

Other Alcohol Assessment Tests: Risks & Benefits 

All of the tests we've listed were created by professionals and tested for efficacy. They're also printable, so you can take them privately. Tests you might find on the internet are different. 

Remember, all of these tests are not meant to definitively prove that an individual does or does not have an alcohol use disorder. More importantly, they are meant as conversation starters to help individuals think about their own relationship to substances and consider whether those relationships are healthy, or could use improvement. [5] 

If you score abnormally on these tests, it might be a good idea to think critically about your substance use and even consider reaching out to friends, family or even professional help if you think there is a real problem with your use. 

No matter what test you take, remember your follow-up is critical. Your scores can't make your alcohol problem go away. Only treatment can help you learn to manage alcohol misuse. 

If your scores are concerning, take these next steps:

  • Talk. Reach out to close friends or family members. Tell them you're concerned about your drinking and will need help to quit. Ask them to be part of your support system. 
  • Search. Use a tool like the SAMHSA National Helpline or FindTreatment.gov to look for addiction treatment facilities near you. 
  • Ask. Connect with your insurance company and find out about your addiction treatment benefits. 

Put your substance misuse test scores to good use and take the next step. 

Alcohol Assessment FAQs

Is there a test to see if you are an “alcoholic”?

There are several assessments available. Use them to understand your drinking habits and start a conversation about treatment. 

How much do you need to drink to be classified as an “alcoholic”?

Alcohol use disorder isn't a numbers game. Instead, assessments measure how you feel about drinking, how others feel about your drinking, and how alcohol impacts your life as a whole. If an assessment raises some red flags, it’s time to see a professional.

What qualifies as having an “alcohol use disorder”?

People with alcohol use disorder can't stop or control their drinking, even though it impacts their social connections, professional life, and health.[11] While there is no “ones size fits all” cure for alcohol use disorder, the condition can be effectively managed for life with the right treatment.

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. Alcohol Facts and Statistics. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics. March 2022. Accessed May 2022. 
  2. Substance Abuse Screening Instrument. U.S. Preventive Service Task Force. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/home/getfilebytoken/Z3EFdR3PjZKxrRs783_XKH. Accessed May 2022. 
  3. The Psychometric Properties of the Drug Abuse Screening Test. Addiction and Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7291903/. January 2020. Accessed May 2022. 
  4. NIDA Quick Screen. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/nmassist.pdf. Accessed May 2022. 
  5. NIDA-Modified ASSIST: Clinician's Screening Tool for Drug Use in General Medical Setting. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/resource/ebp/nida-modified-assist-nm-assist-clinicians-screening-tool-drug-use-general-medical. Accessed May 2022. 
  6. CAGE Questionnaire. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. https://uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/home/getfilebytoken/QETZFZLBsJbtPmVNVCgA7Z. February 2004. Accessed May 2022. 
  7. Effectiveness of the CAGE Questionnaire, Gamma-Glutamyltransferase and Mean Corpuscular Volume of Red Blood Cells as Markers for Alcohol-Related Problems in the Workplace. Addictive Behaviors. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18337017/. June 2008. Accessed May 2022. 
  8. Car, Relax, Alone, Forget, Friends, Trouble (CRAFFT 2.1). Medscape. https://reference.medscape.com/calculator/519/car-relax-alone-forget-friends-trouble-crafft-2-1. Accessed May 2022. 
  9. The CRAFFT Questionnaire. Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research. https://njaap.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/COMBINED-CRAFFT-2.1-Self-Admin_Clinician-Interview_Risk-Assess-Guide.pdf. 2016. Accessed May 2022. 
  10. Addiction Test. Mental Health America. https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/addiction/?ref. Accessed May 2022. 
  11. Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder. April 2021. Accessed May 2022.

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