We have added a new self-administered questionnaire to our template directory – the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).
It’s just one of the tools we offer behavioral health practitioners to help them care for their clients during the pandemic when many are providing care to their clients online instead of face to face.
A survey conducted last year by the American Psychological Association (APA) showed that (96 percent of psychologists are treating patients remotely) with 63 percent of them declaring that treating clients remotely is more challenging than treating them face-to-face in an office. Challenges psychologists named were primarily technical in nature, ranging from internet access or connectivity (57 percent) to lack of access to necessary equipment (29 percent).
Easy-to-use assessment tools can greatly benefit virtual practices by easing some of the difficulties presented by caring for clients remotely.
The ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it more important than ever to monitor clients for alcohol use disorders, which are on the rise. In today’s post, we’re looking at how the AUDIT self-administered questionnaire can help you care for your clients.
The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)
A RAND Corporation study conducted in Sept. 2020 suggested that Americans are drinking 14 percent more often in response to pandemic-related stress. For women, heavy drinking days increased by 41 percent in 2020. The pandemic seems to be taking a toll. Healthy social interaction is one of the elements that help people abstain from or moderate their drinking, and for many of us, this interaction was dramatically curtailed in the last year. Assessments can help therapists identify when drinking to fill the gap is becoming a problem.
As noted in the APA article, Drinking, coping, and COVID-19, 2020 brought with it “a pandemic culture rife with references to Zoom happy hours, quarantinis, and in which some states have relaxed restrictions allowing for curbside pickup of liquor and cocktails-to-go from restaurants.“
Although we are hopeful that 2021 will see a return to more “normal” face-to-face social interactions, habits picked up in the previous year could continue as we still face uncertainty and new rules for navigating our social lives during the pandemic.
As Laura Kwako, PhD, a clinical psychologist and a health scientist administrator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says, “Prior studies conducted in the wake of traumatic events, such as hurricanes and other natural disasters, indicate that some people are likely to escalate their drinking, possibly as a coping mechanism related to stress.”
Even when we’re on the way out of a traumatic event, stress can linger. That’s why an inexpensive tool such as the AUDIT is so valuable. A self-administered questionnaire makes it easy for practitioners to quickly assess if their client struggles with maintaining balance in their drinking habits and opens the door to further conversation about how to get problem drinking under control.
The AUDIT, a 10-item questionnaire, is designed to screen for excessive drinking and assist in assessing alcohol dependence. The questions ask how often certain drinking events or situations related to alcohol consumption occur.
Sample of AUDIT questions 4-7. View the entire AUDIT template. Reproduced with permission from AUDIT: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test: Guidelines for Use in Primary Care, Second Edition, Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO), 2001, https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/audit-the-alcohol-use-disorders-identification-test-guidelines-for-use-in-primary-health-care, accessed March 11 2021. WHO does not endorse any specific companies, products or services.
Our digital version of the AUDIT can be filled out at home, is encrypted and confidential, and automatically delivers a score to the practitioner upon completion. It’s available, along with our other self-administered questionnaires (PHQ-9, GAD-7, DASS, and PCL-5) with any Hushmail for Healthcare plan, subject to the plan’s maximum number of forms.
Try out the AUDIT template
Ready to start using our self-administered questionnaires?