The contrast of the Use and Settings for Alcohol Screening Tools


Discussion: The contrast of the Use and Settings for Alcohol Screening Tools

Respond to Ivette Fonseca post. Healthcare providers conduct health assessments on every patient to aid in making informed clinical decisions. It\’s a crucial aspect in the healthcare professionals as it guides both medical and nursing diagnosis and, most importantly, suggests the care provided to the patients. Nurses and physicians perform different health assessments on patients depending on the medical condition or presenting signs and symptoms. Thus various health assessment tools get utilized during this process of obtaining vital information from patients. This essay focuses primarily on the General Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) screening tools to evaluate anxiety disorders and depression. This paper will also contrast the use and setting for AUDIT-C and the CAGE questionnaire alcohol screening tools.

Mental health issues are an alarming issue globally and becoming a public health concern. Mental health problems need to be acknowledged and treated as if left unattended to result in a poor quality of life. Depression and anxiety disorders are among the most significant classified mental health disorders affecting individuals of all age-groups (Maurer et al., 2018). These two disorders are often underdiagnosed and undertreated as they are overlooked; hence, it is essential for healthcare professionals to use appropriate screening tools to identify their characteristic signs and symptoms.



Depression is characterized as a mood disorder that can be caused by various factors such as chronic illness, pain, or bereavement. It affects an individual\’s pattern of thinking, behavior, and functioning. Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) is a standard screening tool used to assess and identify individuals with depression\’s unique needs. The PHQ-9 applies mostly in adults over sixty-five years and guides the physicians into detecting, monitoring, and evaluating the severity of depressive symptoms (Jarvis & Eckhardt, 2019). The PHQ-9 comprises nine items and is self-administered with considerations of the Diagnostic Statistic Manual IV (DSM-IV) criteria for diagnosing depression in adults. At the beginning of this screening tool\’s utilization, it\’s essential first to implement the PHQ-2, which only asks the patient or client two questions regarding their mood and anhedonia for the past fourteen days (Arrieta et al., 2017). The patient is demonstrated how to use the PHQ-9, and after the instructions, it is expected that the patient will tick against the three available columns. The patient only proceeds with the rest of the PHQ-9 questions if they obtain a high score ranging from 1 to 3 in both rows to establish the depressive diagnoses effectively. After completing the entire PHQ-9 questions, the physician then sums up the patient\’s total scores to determine the severity level of depression and evaluate the best management. The patient needs to understand the meaning of their scores to aid in making informed clinical decisions.


Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders affecting a broad group of individuals but often remains underdiagnosed, just like depression. The General Anxiety Disorder 7- item (GAD-7) scale is one of the most commonly used screening tools in primary care settings to detect anxiety disorders. The seven items on the GAD scale correlate with the DSM-IV criteria for generalized anxiety disorders. It aids the physicians to assess the client\’s level of nervousness, control worrying, relaxation, restlessness, irritability, and fear. The patient is asked to describe their honest experience over the last two weeks, and the responses are scored ranging from scores of o to 3. It is essential to explain to the patient the meaning of the scores so, in the end, they may know how to handle their situation. Scores of zero indicate the absence of a general anxiety disorder, while scores beyond three indicate GAD (Johnson et al., 2019). It is a useful tool for the patient and the physician as it denotes the severity level, resulting in the most effective treatment and management.


The contrast of the Use and Settings for Alcohol Screening Tools

Healthcare providers have included assessing substance abuse in the health assessment procedure to ensure that critical information is obtained for successful treatment and management. Alcohol screening procedures are one of the aspects that have been included in the health assessment of individuals when coming to seek medical attention in healthcare facilities. There are various alcohol screening tools that an organization may decide to use to identify and detect issues affecting individuals. The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) and the Cut-down Annoyed Guilty Eye-opener (CAGE) Questionnaire are our primary focus.


The CAGE questionnaire targets to obtain information concerning the individual’s lifetime alcohol consumption. The health care providers using the CAGE screening tool provide the patients with four questions; thus, it is a time-saving method. This makes it a suitable screening tool in primary care settings that attend to a vast population. The CAGE questionnaire has been proved to lack gender-sensitive hence not effective in women. They are not likely to screen positive even when having a history of alcohol consumption (Jarvis & Eckhardt, 2019). On the other hand, the AUDIT targets to screen individuals who have a history of excessive drinking and provide mechanisms to stop or reduce the alcohol consumption rate. Unlike the three questions asked in the CAGE questionnaire, AUDIT contains ten quick questions designed to evaluate the hazardous alcohol use, dependence symptoms, and harmful alcohol consumption (Jarvis & Eckhardt, 2019). The UDIT screening tool has a powerful feature of discrimination, unlike the CAGE questionnaire; it can distinguish individuals from a large population who suffer the high risk of excessive alcohol drinking from the low-risk individuals.

In conclusion, a health assessment is a vital process that avails various screening tools depending on the medical conditions. Screening provides the healthcare providers with an opportunity to obtain more information from the patients regarding their condition, which aids in inappropriate treatment options and the correct diagnosis. PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scale items are powerful tools used to screen depression and anxiety disorders, respectively. PHQ-9 and GAD-7 screening tools have contributed significantly to the detection and treatment of these mental disorders. Alcohol screening has also proven to be significant in combatting its harmful effects through the CAGE and AUDIT questionnaire screening tools. Therefore, every healthcare provider must learn the appropriate screening tools and use them during health assessment procedures.

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