Alcoholism Test

Is there an alcoholism test?

There are several tests, some with multiple variants, designed to help health care professionals identify the likelihood and degree of alcohol dependence. One of the alcoholism tests used in many countries is the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) published by the World Health Organization.



Originally published in 1989, AUDIT, along with the associated manual, it is intended to be used by health care professionals to assist in determining the level of a client’s alcohol use problems. This alcoholism test was developed based on a six-nation trial study.

The tool, as written, is not as useful for those of us who are trying to understand how big a problem we have with our problem drinker. The AUDIT alcoholism test is intended to be given under the guidance of a health care professional as either a self-assessment tool or in conjunction with an interview of the patient. It was not designed for those involved with problem drinkers to perform an independent assessment.

However, as there appears to be no similar tool for those of us that live with or are involved with alcoholics, I have taken liberties with the AUDIT alcoholism test to make it more useful to us. In particular, I have modified it for those of us who are involved with people whose drinking behavior concerns us, to do our own assessment based on our observations of our drinkers drinking behavior.

This is by no means an official test with no formal, academic or medical validity. This is simply for educational purposes, and hopefully will provide additional information to help you to understand the nature and magnitude of the problem you are dealing with in relation to how some medical professionals look at the problem of alcohol use and abuse.


Drinking Behavior Questionnaire

So here is my version of the AUDIT alcoholism test reformulated as a questionnaire. For each question, simply write down the number of points (in parenthesis to the left) of the answer that best fits your observations or experience of your loved one’s drinking behavior.

1. How often does it appear that your drinker has a drink containing alcohol?

(0) Never [Skip to Questions 9-10]

(1) Monthly or

(2) 2 to 4 times a month

(3) 2 to 3 times a week

(4) 4 or more times a week

2. How many drinks containing alcohol does it appear that your drinker has on a typical day when they are drinking?

(0) 1 or 2

(1) 3 or 4

(2) 5 or 6

(3) 7, 8, or 9

(4) 10 or more

3. How often does it appear that your drinker has six or more drinks on one occasion?

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

Skip to Questions 9 and 10 if Total Score for Questions 2 and 3 = 0

4. How often during the last year have you noticed that your drinker did not seem able to stop drinking once they had started?

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

5. How often during the last year, in your opinion, has your drinker failed to do what was normally expected of them because of their drinking?

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

6. How often during the last year have you observed that your drinker needed a first drink in the morning to get going after a heavy drinking session?

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

7. How often during the last year has your drinker expressed feelings of guilt or remorse after drinking?

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

8. How often during the last year have you observed that your drinker has been unable to remember what happened the night before because they had been drinking?

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

9. Have you, your drinker or someone else been injured as a result of their drinking?

(0) No

(2) Yes, but not in the last year

(4) Yes, during the last year

10. Have you, a relative or friend or a doctor or another health worker expressed concern about their drinking or suggested that they cut down?

(0) No

(2) Yes, but not in the last year

(4) Yes, during the last year


Once you have finished the questionnaire, added up the points from the questions that applied to your situation.


    Note: The interpretation discussion below is simply my
    personal interpretation, based on the information in the
    AUDIT manual and my personal experience with alcoholic
    relationships. A health care professional may disagree with
    my interpretation, particularly as I have modified the
    wording of the questions and as the questionnaire is not
    being administered in a clinical environment.


The maximum possible score on this questionnaire is 40 points. The AUDIT document gives an interpretation of their alcoholism test results when the test is either self-administered by the patient or is administered through an interview process with the patient. As you are most likely doing this independently, based on your personal observations, the results will likely not exactly match the result that would be obtained from administering the original test in a clinical environment. On the other hand, the results may at least give you an indication of the level of the problem you are dealing with.


Is your score 8 or more?


You likely have a problem.


According to the AUDIT guidelines, a score “of 8 or more is recommended as an indicator of hazardous and harmful alcohol use, as well as possible alcohol dependence. ”

It can be argued that if your questionnaire score is eight or more, it does not prove that your drinker is an alcoholic. I would agree with that argument. However, a score in the eight-to-ten range would seem to be at least indicative of the beginnings of a problem. And the higher your score gets above ten, the greater the likelihood that your drinker has a problem with alcohol.

Ultimately, the resulting score of any alcoholism test is immaterial. The question is not whether or not you are involved with an alcoholic. The real question – the only question that you have any ability to address – is the following:

    Does someone’s drinking behavior negatively affect my life
    and, if so, what can I do about it?


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