Monday, July 14, 2014

Self- Assessment for Substance Abuse or Chemical Dependence

This summer has been very busy as I work with Footprints Beachside Recovery Center doing group and individual therapy as well as interventions while preparing the launch of the lawyer treatment program, Sea Of Sharks Recovery, Inc.  This program is my amends to the legal profession and it is my hope and expectation that it will help many lawyers, male and female, young and old, address their substance abuse issues, depression, and anxiety.

The following are some tests to determine whether someone has any substance abuse issues.  The problem is not whether the tests are accurate, the problem is whether the individual can be honest.  When I was at the height of my alcoholism, I could not even be honest with myself.  That is why interventions are so necessary.

Self-Assessment

Here are three tests to help you decide if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
The CAGE Test for Alcohol Addiction
This simple test is surprisingly accurate. Answer yes or no to each question.
  1. Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have you ever been Annoyed when people have commented on your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty or badly about your drinking?
  4. Have you ever had an Eye opener first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
Your score:
Score one point for each yes answer.
If you scored 1, there is an 80% chance you are chemically dependent on alcohol.
If you scored 2, there is an 89% chance you are chemically dependent on alcohol.
If you scored 3, there is a 99% chance you are chemically dependent on alcohol.
If you scored 4, there is a 100% chance you are chemically dependent on alcohol.
The Modified CAGE Test for All Addictions
Most self-test questionnaires apply to alcohol addiction, but can be easily adapted to any addiction.
  1. Have you ever felt you should Cut down your use of drugs?
  2. Have you ever been Annoyed when people have commented on your use?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty or badly about your use?
  4. Have you ever used drugs to Ease withdrawal symptoms, or to avoid feeling low after using?
The AUDIT Test for Alcohol Addiction (Alcoholism)
To correctly answer some of these questions you need to know the definition of a drink. For this test one drink is:
One can of beer (12 oz or approx 330 ml of 5% alcohol), or
One glass of wine (5 oz or approx 140 ml of 12% alcohol), or
One shot of liquor (1.5 oz or approx 40 ml of 40% alcohol).
1. How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?
Never (score 0)
Monthly or Less (score 1)
2-4 times a month (score 2)
2-3 times a week (score 3)
4 or more times a week (score 4)
2. How many alcoholic drinks do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?
Never (score 0)
Monthly or Less (score 1)
2-4 times a month (score 2)
2-3 times a week (score 3)
4 or more times a week (score 4)
3. How often do you have 6 or more drinks on one occasion?
Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)
4. How often during the past year have you found that you drank more or for a longer time than you intended?
Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)
5. How often during the past year have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of your drinking?
Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)
6. How often during the past year have you had a drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?
Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)
7. How often during the past year have you felt guilty or remorseful after drinking?
Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)
8. How often during the past year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because of your drinking?
Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)
9. Have you or anyone else been injured as a result of your drinking?
No (0)
Yes, but not in the past year (2)
Yes, during the past year (4)
10. Has a relative, friend, doctor, or health care worker been concerned about your drinking, or suggested that you cut down?
No (0)
Yes, but not in the past year (2)
Yes, during the past year (4)
Your score:
If you scored 8-10 or more, you are probably addicted to alcohol.
It may seem like the AUDIT questionnaire is an easy test to fail. If you applied this test to other aspects of your life you will almost certainly come up as being addicted to something. For example, most people watch too much television, or eat too much of their favorite food. But those are so-called “soft addictions”, and the AUDIT questionnaire was not designed to assess them. It is extremely reliable when it comes to assessing alcohol addiction.
The AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The test correctly classifies 95% of people into either alcoholics or non-alcoholics. It was tested on 2000 people before being published.
(The pdf format version of the AUDIT is available through the WHO website. Copyright 1993 World Health Organization.)

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