Alcohol Awareness Month – Determining Dependence: The AUDIT

ImageIn order to be aware of alcohol abuse and misuse, we need to clearly define what it is. The DSM-IV is regarded as a chronic illness if 3 out of the 7 criteria are met within a 6 month time frame:

  1. tolerance
  2. withdrawal
  3. use in large amounts
  4. persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down use
  5. excessive time spent obtaining alcohol
  6. social, occupational, and/or recreational pursuits in decline
  7. use continued despite knowledge of harm

Because alcoholism affects a high number of people in the United States (12% of Americans aged 18 and older will experience alcohol dependence in their lifetime) the DSM-IV isn’t the only tool used by professionals as a determining factor.

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is the most accurate assessment available. We’ve extracted it from the test booklet given to professionals from the World Health Organization and included it in this article for your convenience (not as a way to diagnose an illness as only a professional can do that!).

Here’s what each scoring means:

  • Scores between 8 and 15 are most appropriate for simple advice focused on the reduction of hazardous drinking.
  • Scores between 16 and 19 suggest brief counseling and continued monitoring.
  • Scores of 20 or above clearly warrant further diagnostic evaluation for alcohol dependence.

For the original booklet written by Babor et. al and more information, please visit

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