What Is Alcohol Screening & Testing?
Alcohol screening and testing consists of self-administered psychological and behavioral questionnaires as well as similar tests administered by clinical or educational professionals. In addition, alcohol testing in the form of a blood, breath or saliva test can be used to detect the quantity of alcohol that a suspected alcoholic may have recently ingested. Physical testing for the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream is also useful for monitoring whether a patient who is undergoing treatment for alcoholism is indeed complying with his or her plan for recovery.
A frequent drinker who has not reached the denial stage of alcohol may indeed be aware that he or she is in danger of crossing the line between social or recreational drinking and alcohol dependency. Self-assessment questionnaires, which allow such drinkers to determine whether the particular levels and circumstances of their consumption of alcohol indeed do constitute alcoholism or show a risk of alcoholism, are available online. Such tests are only of value if individuals who take them answer all questions accurately. An alcoholic who is in denial is, by definition, unable to use such a test as he or she will either not answer the questions honestly or will not understand that the results of the test show advanced alcoholism.
If a physician or other healthcare professional suspects a patient of abusing alcohol, the patient may be asked to take a more detailed test that is similar to those that nonprofessionals can obtain on their own. The healthcare provider is supplied with clear instructions on how to score the test, and he or she can also watch the patient's behavior during the testing process. Such an alcohol screening questionnaire is also handed to patients who admit to their healthcare providers that they do abuse alcohol, and are ready to begin treatment. It is even part of the post-detoxification assessment process that takes place at a residential rehabilitation center.
Ways To Administer Alcoholism Tests
In cases of suspected teenage alcoholism, a teacher, guidance counselor, school psychologist, or school administrator may ask students to submit to alcohol screening. Screening of this type can even be made available to all students as part of a health education course on the dangers of alcohol abuse. Alternately, questionnaires may be provided to parents of students who are suspected of alcohol abuse, so that the students themselves do not fear that reports of their underage drinking will be passed on to law enforcement officials.
Some questionnaires may be particularly geared toward adolescents, but the basic questions asked on any questionnaire are very similar. These questions are meant to determine the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption, whether a drinker consumes alcohol alone, and whether a drinker looks to alcohol as an escape route.
If you would like to obtain an alcohol screening questionnaire, or you would like to find a professional who can administer an alcohol abuse testing survey to yourself or a loved one, please call our 24-hour alcohol information line. We will help you find the right resources for alcohol testing in your area.
Other Alcoholic Screening Methods
Alcohol testing to determine the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream is usually associated with law enforcement officials, and particularly with traffic police officers who administer breathalyzer tests. Breathalyzer tests may also be administered by medical personnel, although blood or saliva tests are usually more accurate and convenient for use in non-forensic settings.
The usual indications for administering any form of alcohol testing that determine the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream include assessment of a diagnosed alcoholic for detoxification purposes. Such tests are also invaluable for dealing with an alcoholic in denial who understates the amount of alcohol he or she has consumed. This is especially the case when an alcoholic seeks medical treatment for physical symptoms, such as the symptoms of liver damage, which are related to alcohol abuse, while denying that he or she is indeed abusing alcohol.
Alcohol screening is the first step toward awareness of an alcohol addiction problem. If a potential alcoholic is able to honestly assess his or her alcohol consumption patterns using self-administered alcohol testing, or if a healthcare provider notices a possible case of alcohol abuse and screens for it before the stage of denial is reached, alcohol screening questionnaires can be very useful. However, once an alcoholic has progressed to the denial phase, only physical alcohol screening to determine the presence of alcohol in his or her blood will give a treatment professional a true sense of the extent to which alcohol is being abused.
Please call our 24-hour alcohol information line to arrange for alcohol screening for yourself or a loved one. We can direct you to resources for both assessment questionnaires and medical testing in your area.