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AUDIT-C for Alcohol Use

Identifies at-risk drinkers (i.e., binge drinking) who may not be alcohol-dependent.

Advice

If a clinician suspects that the patient is minimizing his or her alcohol use, or if a patient’s score is near the cutoff, one may consider utilizing a more lengthy screening test to better determine the nature and extent of the problem. (The Physicians' Guide to Helping Patients With Alcohol Problems 1995)

Other validated tests for further assessment include:

  • Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST)
  • Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)

Management

  • When screening results are positive, the patient should be referred for further evaluation and treatment of an alcohol use problem.
  • This will vary based on available resources but is ideally to an addiction psychiatrist, psychologist, or addiction treatment program.

Critical Actions

In any hospital setting where access to alcohol may be limited, always monitor for signs/symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, even in patients who have not screened positive for an alcohol problem.