Chooper's Guide ... the Internet's most comprehensive substance abuse treatment, prevention and intervention resource directory.

Assessing the Problem


“How do I know if there is really a problem?” is a question we often hear.

The simple answer is Chooper's Guide can’t tell you. But we can provide two assessments that are used by addiction professionals and clinicians.

Family members and friends report that completing one or the other of these assessments (the first is for alcohol, the second is for drugs) as if you are your loved one [in other words, you will answer the questions based on your understanding of your loved one’s substance use patterns and behaviors] helped them better understand what it is s/he is actually dealing with.  

Disclaimer: Completing one (or both) of these assessments does NOT constitute a formal diagnosis. That is done by a clinician working with your loved one or by your loved one’s own admission. But we have been told that when family members or friends conduct their own informal assessment, it has helped them to better understand their loved one’s substance use patterns and where those patterns fit with regards to addiction.

Assessing Your Loved One’s Alcohol Use.

The following assessment was developed and evaluated over a period of two decades by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence. It is called AUDIT (the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test). It was created primarily for health care practitioners around the world as a simple method of screening for excessive drinking.* [Note: as you complete the assessment, don’t forget that the “size” of a drink matters. 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, 5 ounces of wine and 12 ounces of regular beer all equal ONE standard drink.] Click here to view WHO assessment.

Assessing Your Loved One’s Legal or Illegal Drug Use.

The AUDIT evaluation was designed to assess your loved one’s use and behaviors surrounding alcohol. But perhaps you are more concerned about your loved one’s use or abuse of drugs (whether legal or illegal). In that case, you would want to complete the assessment which follows. Click here to view DAST assessment.


*Anderson, Pamela, et al. Screening & brief intervention: Making a public health difference. Join Together (Boston University) with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2008, p. 21.