The Fast Alcohol Screen Test

Alcohol is one of the most used drinks, and alcoholism has been growing day by day across the globe. Alcoholism has increased in the UK, leading to alcohol-related health problems, mental challenges, and alcohol-related deaths.

For the record, in 2018, an estimated 587,000 people were dependent drinkers in England. Of concern, 82% were not accessing treatment. Further, in the same year, about 7,500 alcohol-related deaths were recorded in the UK. From the above statistics, it is essential to note that alcoholism affects people of all races, ages, and gender. Therefore, it is imperative to employ all strategies that might help solve and reduce alcoholism.

An alcohol screening test is an essential tool that helps in identifying alcohol problems in people for treatment. It is a quick and effective process for people with alcohol problems to consider taking the alcohol screening test.

As a reputable facility helping people having drug use problems, we are here to help you come out of the alcoholism struggle. Please call 0203 955 7700, and our experienced advisors are available to help you.

What is an alcohol screen test?

Alcohol screening is a test used to determine and identify your drinking pattern. The test consists of psychological and behavioural questionnaires, which help a healthcare provider assess and identify your excessive drinking patterns.

Since it is a short test, alcohol screening is an effective strategy for reducing excessive drinking and identifying alcohol use disorder. During the test, a health care provider talks to you to understand issues that trigger your alcohol abuse and provide counselling therapies. Usually, a physician might use a short questionnaire test on you and decide based on your answers.

If your healthcare provider suspects you have alcohol use disorder, you may be asked to take a longer, more detailed questionnaire.

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Why take alcohol screening?

When a person mentions alcohol screening, many of us tend to associate it as a tool to assess people with an excessive drinking habit. However, as much as the above is true, alcohol screening has other uses as well.

To start with, alcohol screening enables you and your health care provider to assess and determine how often you take alcohol. As a result, you can evaluate your risk for alcohol dependence and addiction. With that, a health provider uses the information to prescribe preventive measures, such as reducing alcohol consumption levels.

Essentially, alcohol screening helps in determining an existing alcohol problem in an individual. Effectively, the test can help to determine the level of a developing problem. If the test shows you are at risk of developing an alcohol problem, you may have to take an alcohol test.

Unlike alcohol screening, an alcohol test can determine the quantity of alcohol in the system by testing your breath, saliva, or blood.

What are the benefits of alcohol screening?

Alcohol screening involves a set of questions to find out how often and how much you take alcohol. From the results, a health care provider talks to you and offers to counsel you.

If the test shows you have an alcohol problem, your health care provider can counsel you about the dangers of drinking excessively.

As we all know, excessive drinking has many risks and adverse effects on an individual. The alcohol effects include health problems, psychological problems, relationship breakdowns, economic loss, and in the worst cases, death.

A physician offers behavioural counselling interventions to people engaging in risky and excessive drinking habits through alcohol screening. As a result, you are encouraged to change your behaviour by moderately drinking if you have to.

During counselling, a physician can explain the dangers of excessive drinking to people at higher risk of alcohol-related consequences, such as pregnant women.

In certain prescription medications, doctors use alcohol screening to determine your suitability to take certain medicines. For example, those who drink excessively are at a greater risk of severe effects if they use opioid medication.

Generally, alcohol interacts with most medications. A doctor may use alcohol screening to advise patients to either quit alcohol during the duration they will be on medications or drink moderately. Some medicines can increase the risk of harmful effects when they interact with alcohol. Importantly, it is worth noting that no level of alcohol use is safe with medications, especially opioid prescriptions.

Though primarily used for people with an existing alcohol problem, alcohol screening can be a preventative measure. It provides an opportunity for health care providers to educate people about the risks of heavy drinking and low-risk alcohol consumption.

Signs that you have a drinking problem

Most people are not able to identify when they have a problem with alcohol abuse. This is because people with a drinking problem tend to live in denial. However, some signs might point to a drinking problem. They include:

What are the dangerous effects of excessive alcohol abuse?

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can take a toll on your body, resulting in organ damages. Prolonged, heavy alcohol consumption can cause the following effects:

Generally, long-term excessive alcohol use weakens your immune system. As a result, you may be prone to contract other severe diseases like respiratory infections such as pneumonia.

Who is liable for alcohol screening tests?

Alcohol screening is very vital in identifying your drinking pattern and stopping risky drinking habits.

Health experts recommend that alcohol screening should be done regularly and to all adults.

In this case, all adults who take alcohol, whether moderately, binge drinking, heavy drinking, or occasional drinkers, should take an alcohol screening test.

Since alcohol screening aims to address problems resulting from excessive drinking, the test should be followed by counselling therapy for the victims.

Vulnerable people, such as pregnant women, should also undergo alcohol screening often. The body of a pregnant woman is at risk of alcohol effects which may adversely affect the foetus.

Also, students should undertake alcohol screening regularly. School administrators should consider having students take alcohol screening in suspected cases of alcoholism among the students and as a preventive measure. Ideally, alcohol screening should be made available to all students to create awareness of the risks and dangers of alcohol abuse. To address alcohol abuse in educational institutions, administrators should provide questionnaires to students suspected of alcohol abuse.

If you would like to find a professional who can administer an alcohol screening test, we are here for you. Please feel free to call 0203 955 7700, and our experienced advisors are available to speak to you for assistance. In addition, we use evidence-based treatment methods to help our patients achieve life-long recovery.

What happens after alcohol screening?

An underlying cause is always the suspected trigger for most alcohol abuse victims. In this regard, simply quitting alcohol may not be effective in holistically addressing the alcohol problem.

Therefore, after a health care provider administers a screen test and recommends rehabilitation or counselling sessions.

It is essential to counsel patients about the dangers associated with excessive drinking. With that information, as a heavy drinker, you should start drinking less or moderately.

Excessive drinking can lead to risks, such as liver cirrhosis, heart disease, miscarriages, motor vehicle accidents, reckless sexual activities, and violence.

After counselling, the physicians should refer patients with alcohol dependence for special treatment and rehabilitation.

Is alcohol screening tests the same as alcohol diagnostic tests?

Alcohol screening is not the same as diagnostic testing. However, alcohol screening can be part of diagnostic testing. While diagnosis tests determine a definite diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder, alcohol screening evaluates people likely to have alcohol use disorder.

Once your responses to a screen questionnaire point to specific alcoholic issues, the physician may advise a follow-up of diagnostic testing to confirm or rule out alcohol disorder.

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What are common types of tests used in alcohol screening?

In all types of alcohol testing’s, what mainly varies is the number and nature of questions in each questionnaire

FAST Alcohol Screening Test

In a FAST test, the questionnaire has four questions. Primarily, the FAST test is designed for patients in emergency rooms who need urgent care. Therefore, it is a short and quick survey. However, depending on answers, the answer to your first question may be enough to develop a recommendation.

Below are the four questions:

For females: how often have you had six or more units on a single occasion?

For males: how frequently do you have eight or more units on a single event?

  1.  Have not (0)
  2. Less than monthly (1)
  3. At least every month (2)
  4. At least every Week (3)
  5. Every day or almost every day (4)

How frequent have you not taken up your normal expected activities due to drinking during the last year?

  1. Have not (0)
  2. Less than Monthly (1)
  3. At least every Week (3)
  4. Every day or almost every day (4)


In the last year, how frequently have you not been able to recall the events of the previous night since you had been drinking?

  1. Have not (0)
  2. Less than monthly (1)
  3. At least every month (2)
  4. At least every Week (3)
  5. Every day or almost every day  (4)

Has a close person to you or a health worker been bothered about your drinking problem in the last year or suggested that you cut it down?

  1. Have not (0)
  2. Yes, on a single time (2)
  3. Yes, on more than one time (4)

Scoring in the FAST test

Other types of alcohol screening include:

The CAGE Test

It is short, simple, and easy to remember and is one of the most popular methods.

The AUDIT Test

Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) has a detailed questionnaire. It has an accuracy of 94%.

The MAST Test

MAST in full is Michigan Alcohol Screening Test has 22 questions. It is effectively used for adolescents. Its downside is that it requires a lot of time.


The SAAST Test.

Where to get alcohol screening

Perhaps you are wondering when, how, and where to have alcohol screening administered to you. You can now appreciate that alcohol screening is not only for those who have an existing alcohol problem but for everyone.

If you are looking for professional health care providers to administer alcohol screening to you or a loved one, we are here to help you. Please call 0203 955 7700, and our experienced professionals will speak to you for assistance.


  1. CDC
  2. GOV
  3. MHC
  4. DrugAlcoholRehabHelp
  5. Drug Abuse
  6. NHS
  7. PubMed
  8. GOV
  9. NHS
  10. NHS
  11. GOV

Note: If you or a loved one requires an alcohol screening test, please feel free to contact us. Our professionals are ready and available to administer the test to you. Please call 0203 955 7700, and book an appointment.

Meta description

Alcohol screening is a test that determines your drinking patterns. It aims at stopping your risks of excessive drinking. After the screening, you are advised to adopt low-risk consumption of alcohol. As one of the alcohol screening methods, the FAST test is a short and straightforward, four-question survey.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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