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How to Assess for Alcohol or Drug Dependency

Written By northidahodpc

How to Assess for Alcohol or Drug Dependency

June 20, 2016

A closeup of a depressed alcoholic holding a glass of whiskey

The recent news of Prince’s death from an overdose of Fentanyl underscores the epidemic of both drug and alcohol abuse sweeping the United States.  An estimated 1 in 10 adults and adolescents have a problem with illegal as well as legal substances, and the numbers are only growing.  Many people are not even aware that they are dependent, or are at risk of developing a problem in the future.

The CAGE questionnaire was developed in 1970 to help physicians and mental health professionals determine whether an individual’s alcohol or drug use has become problematic.  Take the test yourself and see how you score:

  1. Have you ever felt that you ought to CUT DOWN on your drinking or drug use?
  2. Have people ANNOYED you by criticizing your drinking or drug use?
  3. Have you felt bad or GUILTY about your drinking or drug use?
  4. Have you ever had a drink or used drugs first thing in the morning as an EYE OPENER to steady  your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

Each “yes” answer is scored as one point, with a score of two or more showing a high likelihood for alcohol or drug dependency.  In this case, further evaluation and treatment from a physician or mental health professional is recommended.

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