Fast Five Quiz: Alcoholism (Alcohol Use Disorder)

Steve Soreff, MD


January 24, 2023

According to the Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in the Emergency Department resource kit from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), patients who have alcohol-related problems are more likely to present to the emergency department than to primary care.

The ACEP suggests that brief counseling sessions as short as 5 minutes can be effective. It is fairly common for patients to try to disguise or deny problematic alcohol use with a psychiatric disorder, rather than the reverse being true.

Quality and frequency questions help determine patient drinking levels. The CAGE questionnaire (which asks about cutting down, annoyance with criticism, guilty feelings, and eye-openers) is less reliable when given after questions on frequency are asked. CAGE questions are also not as useful for diagnosing hazardous drinking or identifying binge drinkers, but the questionnaire has proved helpful in making a diagnosis of alcoholism.

Reasons why clinicians often miss AUD include patients' denial or reluctance to offer consumption information, patients presenting with different immediate medical issues, and short appointment sessions.

Learn more about AUD clinical presentation.


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