AUDIT the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test
AUDIT, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a simple method of screening for excessive drinking and to assist in brief assessment. It can help in identifying excessive drinking as the cause of the presenting illness. It also provides a framework for intervention to help hazardous and harmful drinkers reduce or cease alcohol consumption and thereby avoid the harmful consequences of their drinking. The test has enjoyed widespread use by both health workers and alcohol researchers.
AUDIT was developed to screen for excessive drinking and in particular to help practitioners identify people who would benefit from reducing or ceasing drinking. The majority of excessive drinkers are undiagnosed. Often they present with symptoms or problems that would not normally be linked to their drinking. The AUDIT will help the practitioner identify whether the person has hazardous (or risky) drinking, harmful drinking, or alcohol dependence.
Screening for alcohol consumption among patients in primary care carries many potential benefits. It provides an opportunity to educate patients about low-risk consumption levels and the risks of excessive alcohol use. Information about the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption may inform the diagnosis of the patient’s presenting condition, and it may alert clinicians to the need to advise patients whose alcohol consumption might adversely affect their use of medications and other aspects of their treatment. Screening also offers the opportunity for practitioners to take preventative measures that have proven effective in reducing alcohol-related risks.