Whether you face legal troubles or feel your well-being may be at risk because of alcohol use, an alcohol assessment is a critical and practical step to receiving the help you need. An alcohol assessment can also be court-ordered, playing an essential role in the legal process.

This helpful guide walks you through all the key details behind what an alcohol assessment is and what you can do to prepare for one.

What Is the Objective of an Alcohol Assessment Test?

An alcohol assessment aims to determine the severity of an individual’s alcohol problem.

It can serve as a critical part of the legal process. Someone facing legal issues (e.g., DUI, disorderly conduct, public intoxication charges) may be required to complete an alcohol assessment. Lawyers can use the results to provide a more objective opinion about your alcohol use.

Assessments can also help the court see your attitude and willingness to take responsibility for your choices and actions. This is generally seen as favorable toward resolving the legal process.

Where Can You Get an Alcohol Assessment?

Individuals can get an assessment online. Online and over-the-phone assessment providers offer ease and convenience.

Once you schedule the assessment, a professional substance abuse evaluator (e.g., social worker, counselor, therapist) will conduct the evaluation.

What Can You Expect from an Alcohol Assessment?

If you haven’t done an alcohol assessment before, it can feel daunting. Understanding what to expect can help you prepare and feel more confident going into the experience.

Questions About Usage

The assessment begins with a questionnaire about your alcohol use and its effects on your physical health. These may include questions regarding:

  • Alcohol and substance use history:

    The questionnaire will inquire about your drinking patterns, specifically the frequency of drinking and how much you drink daily.

  • Your current situation, such as your job, relationship, and living status:

    The questionnaire may also ask about criminal history, if any.

This portion of the process may also include an assessment of your physical health, including underlying or past medical conditions.

Mental Health Assessment

An alcohol assessment also focuses on your mental health and how it may affect your alcohol use. This part of the assessment may look into underlying medical conditions and family history, focusing on aspects like:

  • Mental health conditions you have had
  • Any mental health treatment
  • Family history of alcohol use, abuse, or addiction

Determining The Best Path Forward

An evaluator will assess the questionnaire details to determine whether you have a drinking problem or trouble with alcohol abuse. They will conduct an interview to discuss these areas further and determine the appropriate level of care needed to address your substance use.

Commonly Asked Questions

For reference, here are examples of common questions asked during an alcohol assessment:

  1. At what age did you first experiment with alcohol to feel the “buzz”?
  2. If applicable, describe your alcohol use between the ages of 18 and 23.
  3. What age were you the first time you got drunk?
  4. If you’re a regular drinker, do you have a preferred alcoholic drink or brand?
  5. How many times a year do you attend a special event or celebration where you consume more alcohol than usual?
  6. Have you ever received professional treatment for alcohol use problems?
  7. Have you ever attended support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Smart Recovery to manage or stop alcohol use?
  8. Does anyone close to you express concern about your drinking habits?

What Treatment Options Are Available After an Alcohol Assessment?

Doctor talking to her male patient at office

Based on the results of the alcohol assessment, various treatment options are available if needed. What direction one takes often depends on their medical history, needs, diagnosis (if applicable), support system, and personal motivation.

Online or In-Person Classes

Help can start at the level of education. In-person and online classes on alcohol awareness are available. Online courses are often self-paced, allowing you to start and stop anytime to accommodate your schedule.

Counseling Sessions

For those who need additional support, individuals can meet with therapists or counselors to discuss what they need help with and receive guidance.

Every person’s circumstances are different. Counseling sessions offer 1:1 time to discuss your challenges and learn recovery strategies customized to your unique situation. Therapy periods can be three to five sessions or more, depending on your needs.

Examples of therapy types include:

  • Talk therapy: Having conversations with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another mental health professional about issues and experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Focusing more on taking constructive action—identifying negative thoughts/behaviors and replacing them with positive ones.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI): Helping individuals establish goals for self-improvement, often used alongside other therapy methods in an individual or group setting.

Outpatient Program

Outpatient programs are an effective way to treat possible alcohol use conditions. They offer the opportunity to get help without interfering with daily activities such as work, school, and/or family obligations.

Outpatient alcohol programs help people overcome drinking problems and learn how to recognize and prevent triggers. The goal is to promote a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities offer a structured environment for those struggling with alcohol addiction or abuse. They require individuals to stay for a set period, usually 30, 60, or 90 days.

Facility staff members provide care 24/7 and help residents prepare for life after completing the program.

The Twelve Steps

People who need longer-term support find the Twelve Steps helpful. Created by Alcoholics Anonymous, the Twelve Steps are often used in treatment for:

  • Substance use disorders
  • Behavioral addictions
  • Co-occurring mental health issues

Roughly 74% of treatment centers use the Twelve Steps. It includes 12 steps for individuals to take to overcome alcohol disorders and addiction. These include:

  1. Admitting powerlessness over the addiction
  2. Believing a higher power (in whatever form) can help
  3. Deciding to turn control over to the higher power
  4. Taking inventory of yourself
  5. Admitting to the higher power, yourself, and another person the wrongs done
  6. Being ready to have the higher power amend any shortcomings in your character
  7. Asking the higher power to remove those shortcomings
  8. Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends for those wrongs
  9.  Reaching out to those who have been hurt (unless doing so would harm the person)
  10.  Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when one is wrong
  11.  Seeking enlightenment and connection with the higher power via prayer or meditation
  12.  Sharing the message of the steps with others in need

Sober Living Communities

Sober living communities provide alcohol- and drug-free environments that help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety while supporting one another through their efforts. These communities are often privately owned homes where people can access peer support and resources to help them live independently.

Seek Help for Yourself or a Loved One Today

If you or your loved one are facing concerns due to alcohol use, getting a New Directions alcohol assessment can be the first step to achieving your goals and improving your life. You don’t have to wonder about what an alcohol assessment test is or what to expect during the process. Take that first step and make your way on a positive path.