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Interactive Tool: Is Your Use of Alcohol Harmful?

Interactive Tool: Is Your Use of Alcohol Harmful?

What does this tool help you learn?

This tool can help you find out if your drinking is harmful or unhealthy.

The results may show that you need to get help from a doctor. As you answer the questions, try to be as honest as you can. Your answers won't be shared with anyone.

This tool alone is not enough to diagnose alcohol use disorder. If you think your drinking might be harmful—no matter how you score on this tool—seek help from a health professional.

Used with permission from: "Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test—Guidelines for Use in Primary Care," Second Edition. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2001.

What does your score mean?

The more symptoms of harmful drinking you have, the higher your score will be. Your score will appear as one of the following:

  • Low risk: Your drinking habits are probably not harmful as long as you continue to limit your alcohol intake or don't drink at all.
  • Medium risk: You may drink too much from time to time. Your drinking habits may not be safe or healthy for you or others. Try to limit how much you drink, or quit altogether.
  • High risk: Your drinking is likely to cause problems if you don't cut back or quit altogether. Talk to your doctor about how you can limit your drinking or quit. If you have trouble cutting back or quitting, or if you start drinking more, see your doctor or another health professional for help.
  • Likely alcohol use disorder: You most likely need treatment to recover and stay sober. If you don't seek help, your drinking is likely to cause serious problems. See your doctor or another health professional for help.

This tool is not meant to take the place of a thorough checkup by your doctor. If you think you may have a problem, see your doctor.

What's next?

Drinking too much can cause serious health problems. It also can affect your life and the lives of people you care about. If you are concerned about your drinking or you can't control how much you drink, contact your doctor for help right away. Without treatment, harmful alcohol use can get worse over time.

Sometimes the harmful use of alcohol can be overcome without help. But you may need treatment to get better. This is especially true if you are dependent on alcohol and your alcohol use is causing problems in many areas of your life. Treatments include counseling and medicines. Getting treatment may help you stop your harmful use of alcohol and live a healthier, happier life. The choice to go to your doctor for help is the first step on your path to getting better.

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Current as of: March 21, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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