Screening Tool Identifies Adolescents Who Have Alcohol and Drug Problems
Researchers at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (CAAS) evaluated existing alcohol diagnostic screening tools to develop a quick, low-cost way to identify adolescents who might benefit from alcohol-use interventions.
Of the three alcohol-use diagnostic screening tools evaluated, AUDIT most reliably identified teenagers fitting criteria for an alcohol-related diagnosis, as specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
AUDIT is a 10-question screening tool developed to identify problem drinkers in primary care settings.
Certain DSM-IV criteria appear more appropriate than others for use with adolescents:
- "Drinking more or longer than intended" was the item that best predicted having a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.
- "Use despite psychological or physical consequences" was also a good predictor of alcohol dependence.
- Signs of withdrawal appear to have limited screening value among adolescents.