The total sum of the responses suggests varying levels of alcohol consumption risk. Scores range from 0 to 40. In general, a total of 16 or above is suggestive of the presence of alcohol dependence. Listed below are AUDIT totals, the levels of risk that they relate to, and suggested treatment for each level of alcohol consumption and dependence:
|0-7||Low-risk||Harm reduction advice may be appropriate.|
|8-15||Risky or Hazardous Level||Moderate risk of harm. May include some clients currently experiencing harm (especially those who have minimized their reported intake and problems).|
|16-19||High-risk or Harmful Level||Drinking that will eventually result in harm, if not already doing so. May be dependent.|
|≥ 20||High-risk||Definite harm, also likely to be alcohol dependent. Assess for dependence.|
In addition to the total AUDIT score, a secondary 'dependence' score of 4 or more as a subtotal of questions 4 to 6, suggests the possibility of alcohol dependence (and therefore the need for more intensive intervention if further assessment confirms dependence).
The AUDIT also provides a framework for intervention to help risky drinkers reduce or cease alcohol consumption and thereby avoid the harmful consequences of alcohol.
|Score||Suggested Zone||Indicated Action|
|0-7||Low risk of health problems related to alcohol use||Brief education|
|8-15||Increased risk of health problems related to alcohol use||Brief intervention|
|16-19||Increased risk of health problems related to alcohol use and a possible mild or moderate alcohol use disorder||Brief intervention or referral to specialized treatment|
|≥ 20||Increased risk of health problems related to alcohol use and a possible moderate or severe alcohol use disorder||Referral to specialized treatment|
Brief education: An opportunity to educate patients about low-risk consumption levels and the risks of excessive alcohol use.
Brief intervention: Patient-centered discussion that employs Motivational Interviewing concepts to raise an individual’s awareness of his/her substance use and enhancing his/her motivation towards behavioral change. Brief interventions are typically performed in 3-15 minutes, and should occur in the same session as the initial screening. Repeated sessions are more effective than a one-time intervention.
The recommended behavior change is to cut back to low-risk drinking levels unless there are other medical reasons to abstain (liver damage, pregnancy, medication contraindications, etc.).
Patients with numerous or serious negative consequences from their drinking, or patients with likely dependence who cannot or will not obtain conventional specialized treatment, should receive more numerous and intensive interventions with follow up. The recommended behavior change in this case is to either cut back to low-risk drinking levels or abstain from use.
Referral to specialized treatment: A proactive process that facilitates access to specialized care for individuals who have been assessed to have substance use dependence. These patients are referred to alcohol and drug treatment experts for more definitive, in-depth assessment and, if warranted, treatment. The recommended behavior change is to abstain from use and accept the referral. Referrals to treatment are delivered to the patient using the brief intervention model.