If alcoholism is suspected (see quant. below), one can employ the CAGE questionnaire (one point for each question answered "yes")

  • Men: >4 drinks in one sitting, >14 drinks per week
  • Women: >3 drinks in one sitting, >7 drinks per week
    • C: Have you ever felt the need to cut down on your drinking?
    • A: Have you ever felt annoyed by people who criticize your drinking?
    • G: Have you ever had guilty feelings about drinking?
    • E: Have you ever taken a drink in the morning (eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
    • Score of 2-3: high index of suspicion for alcoholism
    • Score of 4: virtually diagnostic for alcoholism


  1. Bickley LS. Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking. 10th Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2009.
  2. Ewing J. Detecting alcoholism: the CAGE questionnaire. JAMA. 1984;252(14):1905-1907.
  3. Kitchens J. Does this patient have an alcohol problem? JAMA. 1994;272(22):1782-1787.