Posts Tagged ‘WHO’

Is Alcohol a Problem for You? A Test

Sunday, December 3rd, 2023

Addiction and Recovery

By Bob Gaydos

no bar


Thanksgiving ushered in the triple-threat season, so-called by many people in recovery because of the heavy emphasis on celebration … and drinking. It’s a time for extra caution and heightened awareness of the easy access and, sometimes, emphasis on alcohol in order to protect one’s recovery.

    But it’s also a time when people not in recovery often find out, often from friends or family, that their drinking is not normal. It’s problematic. Possibly dangerous. 

   With Christmas and New Year’s revelry still to come, it may be a good time for anyone wondering about his or her drinking behavior to take a self-assessment.

There are a few tests available and I’ve offered a couple previously in this column, but in the interests of time I’m presenting the shortest one here. It’s the AUDIT, offered by The World Health Organization and is the most widely used alcohol use assessment tool in the world. AUDIT stands for alcohol use disorders identification test. As always, be honest for the best result.

The AUDIT questionnaire:

Please circle the answer that is correct for you

  1. How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?
  • Never
  • Monthly or less
  • 2-4 times a month
  • 2-3 times a week
  • 4 or more times a week
  1. How many standard drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when drinking?
  • 1or2
  • 3or4
  • 5or6
  • 7to9
  • 10 or more
  1. How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?
  • Never
  • Less than monthly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily or almost daily
  1. During the past year, how often have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?
  • Never
  • Less than monthly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily or almost daily
  1. During the past year, how often have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of drinking?
  • Never
  • Less than monthly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily or almost daily
  1. During the past year, how often have you needed a drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?
  • Never
  • Less than monthly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily or almost daily
  1. During the past year, how often have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?
  • Never
  • Less than monthly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily or almost daily
  1. During the past year, have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?
  • Never
  • Less than monthly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily or almost daily
  1. Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?
  • No
  • Yes, but not in the past year
  • Yes, during the past year
  1. Has a relative or friend, doctor or other health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?
  • No
  • Yes, but not in the past year
  • Yes, during the past year

Scoring the audit

Scores for each question range from 0 to 4, with the first response for each question (eg never) scoring 0, the second (eg less than monthly) scoring 1, the third (eg monthly) scoring 2, the fourth (eg weekly) scoring 3, and the last response (eg. daily or almost daily) scoring 4. For questions 9 and 10, which only have three responses, the scoring is 0, 2 and 4.

Scoring the AUDIT

The range of possible scores is from 0 to 40, with 0 indicating an abstainer who has never had any problems from alcohol. A score of 1 to 7 suggests low-risk consumptions, according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Scores from 8 to 14 suggest hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption and a score of 15 or more indicates the likelihood of alcohol dependence (moderate-severe alcohol use disorder).

If your score concerns you, there is help available. Talk with your primary care doctor. Call an Alcoholics Anonymous hotline in your area. Call a mental health crisis hotline if one is available.

Excessive alcohol use is now classified as a mental disorder by health officials, somewhat in response to the stigma attached to the word “alcoholic.”  However, most recovering members of Alcoholics Anonymous have no problem with identifying as such. In any case, it is not a moral failing. It can be treated. First, it has to be acknowledged.

Again, be honest. And have a safe and sober holiday season.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

A Week of Wills, Won’ts and Walkouts

Monday, July 17th, 2023

4CA8BB44-4999-4BDA-84BF-9D1F8B35B6F7By Bob Gaydos

Here’s another stream of consciousness report on the news because, well, we seem to be living in a stream of consciousness world:

     The week began in what has become a normal pattern these days with (1.) Donald Trump asking a judge to postpone his trial for stealing and refusing to return classified government documents until the 12th of Never or he gets elected president again, whichever comes first, which was a disturbing development because said judge is believed to have a crush on the twice-impeached former president and might rule in his favor, which isn’t what happened to (2.) some of Aretha Franklin’s offspring, who went to court four years after her death to decide which one of her wills was the real one — the notarized, signed one found in a locked cabinet or the scribbled, unsigned one found stuffed in a couch cushion, which also contained comments about the singer’s ex-boyfriends, which may have convinced the jury in Pontiac, Mich., that it was the legit will because that’s how they decided after only an hour of discussion, a ruling some found as curious as (3.) the World Health Organization’s determination that the artificial sweetener, aspartame could cause cancer while a special panel appointed by the same UN organization simultaneously said the sweetener was still safe for regular use, which is pretty much what (4.) the NRA said about the widespread availability of all types of guns in response to a report that the U.S. in 2023 had experienced the deadliest six months of mass killings since 2006, or 140 killings in 180 days, not that anyone noticed, (5.) what with record numbers of tourists flocking to Death Valley hoping to experience record high temperatures as the thermometer hovered near 130°F, (6.) which wasn’t far from the heat generated on picket lines in Los Angeles by striking actors and writers, led by The Nanny, Fran Drescher, president of the Screen Actors Guild, who roasted film and streaming companies executives for, among other things, wanting to use artificial intelligence- generated images of background actors instead of real people in order to save money, which is the opposite of (7.) what India had in mind when it launched a rocket to the Moon, hoping for a soft landing for a lunar rover to explore the surface of the moon and bolster India’s emerging space program as a major source of revenue, rather than, as some cynics speculated, as an exploration for a future home for some of the nearly 1.5 billion people living in a country whose trains keep running into each other and (8.) whose neighbor, China, is being difficult over some disputed borders between the ancient countries, who have maintained a careful relationship with (9.) Russia as it slogs through a misbegotten war against Ukraine, who has (10.) been promised NATO membership in the future, whether or not (11.) Russian President Vladimir Putin figures out which of his generals knew about the attempted coup before it unraveled almost as quickly as (12.) Twitter when Elon Musk bought it to show us again how smart he is.

    Whew. … Oh yeah, (13.) The New York Times announced it was eliminating its sports desk and pretty much nobody noticed.

     There.

rjgaydos@gmail.com