For many adults drinking a moderate amount of alcohol (up to two units per day for men, and one unit per day for women and older people) is not harmful. But many people get into serious trouble because of their drinking.
Brief Addiction Questionnaire (CAGE)
This short assessment will help you determine if you may have a problem with alcohol. (The name ‘CAGE’ is an acronym formed by taking the first letter of key words from each of the following questions.)
- Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking?
- Have people Annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
- Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning (as an ‘Eye-opener’) to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
If you answered ‘yes’ to two of these questions you may have a drinking problem.
If you answered ‘yes’ to three of these questions you do have a problem and should seek help.
Please progress to our more detailed questionnaire below.
Detailed Alcohol & Drug Questionnaire
Alcohol Dependence: Sample Questions for Assessment Based on Diagnostic Criteria*
A diagnosis of alcohol dependence requires that the patient meet three or more of the following criteria, occurring at any time during the previous 12-month period.
- Drinking more or longer than intended: Have there been times when found you had been drinking more than you intended or kept drinking for longer than you intended?
- Impaired Control: Have you repeatedly wanted to stop or cut down on your drinking, or often tried to stop or cut down but found you couldn’t?
- Tolerance: Have you found the need to drink more than previously to get the desired effect, or that your usual number of drinks has much less effect than it once did?
- Withdrawal syndrome or drinking to relieve withdrawal:
– When the effects of alcohol are wearing off, have you had trouble sleeping? Found yourself shaking, nervous, nauseous, restless, sweating or with your heart beating fast? Have you sensed things that aren’t really there? Have you had seizures?
– Have you taken a drink or used any drug to avoid the bad after-effects of drinking or to recover from them?
- Continued use despite recurrent psychological or physical problems: Have you continued to drink even though you knew it was making you feel depressed or anxious? Or causing a health problem or making one worse? Have you continued drinking after having had a blackout?
- Time spent related to drinking or recovering: Have you had a period when you spent a lot of time thinking about alcohol. drinking or recovering from the effects of drinking?
- Neglect of activities: In order to drink, have you given up or cut down on activities that were important or interesting to you or gave you pleasure?
* Ref. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/ Adapted by Dr. Margaret Ann McCann, Medical Director, Castle Craig Hospital
Many who are alcohol or drug dependent will require treatment in a residential setting where there is access to 24-hour medical care, supervised detox and a daily routine of individual counselling and group therapy sessions. You may wish to consult with your G.P or visit Alcoholics Anonymous online for more information.