PatientPlus articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use, so you may find the language more technical than the condition leaflets.
This is a more detailed questionnaire than the CAGE Questions. It has been developed by the World Health Organization as a simple screening tool to pick up the early signs of hazardous and harmful drinking and identify mild dependence.
- Begin the AUDIT by saying “Now I am going to ask you some questions about your use of alcoholic drinks during this past year.”
- Read the questions as written. Record answers carefully.
- Explain what is meant by “alcoholic drinks” by using local examples of beer, wine, vodka, etc.
- Code answers in terms of “standard drinks”. Select the correct answer number in the box on the right.
The calculator has been created from the questionnaire in Babor TF, Higgins-Biddle JC, Saunders JB, Monteiro MG; The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Guidelines for Use in Primary Care, Second Edition, Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, World Health Organization, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. ©World Health Organization 2001, reproduced here with permission.
AUDIT was tested on a sample of 913 drinking patients, and has 92% sensitivity and specificity of 94% using the ≥8/40 threshold.
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AUDIT-C (shortened form)
The AUDIT-C is a shortened version of the above using the first 3 questions only. Using a cutoff ≥4 the Audit-C has a sensitivity of 86% of patients with heavy drinking and/or active alcohol abuse or dependence with a specificity of 72%. Using a cutoff of ≥3, AUDIT-C identifies 90% of patients with active alcohol abuse or dependence and 98% of patients with heavy drinking, (specificity was only 60%, false-positive rate 40%). 
It is recommended a score of ≥3 or more points on the AUDIT-C, or a report of drinking 6 or more drinks on one occasion ever in the last year, should lead to a more detailed assessment of drinking and related problems (ie completion of the full questionnaire).
Further reading & references
- Dawson DA, Smith SM, Saha TD, et al; Comparative performance of the AUDIT-C in screening for DSM-IV and DSM-5 alcohol use disorders. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Dec 1;126(3):384-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.05.029. Epub 2012 Jun 22.
- Babor TF, Higgins-Biddle JC, Saunders JB, Monteiro MG; The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Guidelines for Use in Primary Care, Second Edition, Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, World Health Organization.
- Saunders JB, Aasland OG, Babor TF, et al; Development of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT): WHO Collaborative Project on Early Detection of Persons with Harmful Alcohol Consumption--II. Addiction. 1993 Jun;88(6):791-804.
- Bush K, Kivlahan DR, McDonell MB, et al; The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C): an effective brief screening test for problem drinking. Ambulatory Care Quality Improvement Project (ACQUIP). Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Arch Intern Med. 1998 Sep 14;158(16):1789-95.
- Bradley KA, DeBenedetti AF, Volk RJ, et al; AUDIT-C as a brief screen for alcohol misuse in primary care. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 Jul;31(7):1208-17. Epub 2007 Apr 19.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Huw Thomas
Dr Hayley Willacy
Dr Colin Tidy