The AUDIT can be a quick way to understand your level of risk from drinking alcohol. Find out more about the AUDIT and how it works here.
What is the AUDIT?
The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a simple screening tool designed to help people identify potential alcohol-related problems. Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s widely used around the world by healthcare professionals as a standardised way to assess how much alcohol you drink and the potential risk of alcohol-related problems.1
Studies have shown that the AUDIT can effectively identify people with alcohol-use disorders or risky drinking consumption or behaviours.2 There is also evidence that it works effectively across different groups of people and different cultures.3
How does the AUDIT work?
The AUDIT is a questionnaire with 10 multiple-choice questions that cover various aspects of your alcohol consumption, such as:
- How often you drink alcohol and how much you drink
- For example, how many alcohol units you drink on a typical drinking day
- Whether you have any symptoms of alcohol dependence
- Like not being able to stop drinking after starting, or needing a drink in the morning
- Whether you have experienced negative consequences because of drinking
- This includes things like being unable to remember what happened the night before, or being injured
Your answer to each question is scored from 0-4, depending on the level of risk suggested by your response. The scores are added together to give a total score between 0-40 - the higher the score, the greater the likelihood that you are drinking in a risky or harmful way.
What do the different AUDIT scores mean?
Based on the version of AUDIT used in the UK,4 a total score of:
- 0 to 7 indicates lower risk
- 8 to 15 indicates increasing risk
- 16 to 19 indicates higher risk
- 20 or more indicates possible dependence
There is also a shortened three-question version of the test called AUDIT-C, which has been found to produce results as valid and reliable as the full AUDIT.5,6 It’s quicker because it only asks questions about your alcohol consumption. For AUDIT-C a total score of:7
- 0 to 4 indicates lower risk
- 5 to 7 indicates increasing risk
- 8 to 10 indicates higher risk
- 11 to 12 indicates possible dependence
A score of five or more on the AUDIT-C is classed as a ‘positive screen’, indicating your drinking might be causing harm to your health. If possible, it’s recommended to complete the remaining AUDIT questions for a fuller result.
Remember that your score on any AUDIT test isn’t a diagnosis of anything by itself. Your score can suggest the presence of a potential alcohol use disorder, but a healthcare professional will be able to offer you advice that considers other factors that are relevant for you – like your age, sex and genetic factors.8
The UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) recommend that to keep health risks from alcohol low, you should drink no more than 14 units a week, make sure you have several drink-free days, and never binge drink. Find out more about the UK low risk drinking guidelines.
Who offers AUDIT tests?
The AUDIT is often used as a screening tool by doctors and other healthcare professionals as a way of checking whether alcohol could be causing health problems or might be increasing the risk of health problems. Depending on the results, your doctor might offer you advice on how to lower your risk or refer you to specific alcohol support services if you need more help.
You can also carry out an AUDIT test yourself, to discover whether the way you drink is causing risks for your health.
Drinkaware uses the AUDIT as the basis for the self-assessment tool on our website. You can take a quick, confidential test to assess your risk level. Your results will give you advice on changes you can make to lower your risks, and where to find support if you need it.
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