Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ)

Screens severity of alcohol dependence based on drinking habits and symptoms experienced after drinking.

Refer to the text below the questionnaire for more information about the SADQ and its interpretation.


SADQ is a self-administered 20-item questionnaire that evaluates severity of alcohol dependence. It is addressed to populations of problem drinkers: inpatient, outpatient and community-based treatment agency attenders.

It was originally formulated in by Edwards et al. in 1970 then subsequently redefined by Stockwell et al. in 1983. It takes up to 5 minutes to administer and it is easily scored.

The SADQ questionnaire may be used not only to screen alcohol dependence severity but also to predict the likelihood of achieving control drinking goals or predict alcohol withdrawal severity.


SADQ score Interpretation Next steps
0 - 7 Non-dependent None for the moment, if there are concerns repeat screening at later date.
8 - 15 Mild dependence Focus on guiding towards safe drinking with tightly monitored alcohol consumption.
16 - 30 Moderate dependence Implement a period of abstinence. 80% may be able to control drinking once reintroduced but monitor carefully and ensure support is in place. 20% will not be able to control drinking and in case of relapse, permanent abstinence should be aimed for.
31 - 60 Severe dependence Implements permanent abstinence. Look into treatment for alcoholism, establishing family and community support and treatment for potential physical and psychological comorbidities.

Instruction: Please select a number on the scale (either 0, 1, 2, or 3) to show how often each of the following statements applied to you during this time.

Almost never = 0 | Sometimes = 1 | Often = 2 | Nearly always = 3

1The day after drinking alcohol, I woke up feeling sweaty.
Almost neverNearly always
2The day after drinking alcohol, my hands shook first thing in the morning.
Almost neverNearly always
3The day after drinking alcohol, my whole body shook violently first thing in the morning if I didn't have a drink.
Almost neverNearly always
4The day after drinking alcohol, I woke up absolutely drenched in sweat.
Almost neverNearly always
5The day after drinking alcohol, I dread waking up in the morning.
Almost neverNearly always
6The day after drinking alcohol, I was frightened of meeting people first thing in the morning.
Almost neverNearly always
7The day after drinking alcohol, I felt at the edge of despair when I awoke.
Almost neverNearly always
8The day after drinking alcohol, I felt very frightened when I awoke.
Almost neverNearly always
9The day after drinking alcohol, I liked to have an alcoholic drink in the morning.
Almost neverNearly always
10The day after drinking alcohol, I always gulped my first few alcoholic drinks down as quickly as possible.
Almost neverNearly always
11The day after drinking alcohol, I drank more alcohol to get rid of the shakes.
Almost neverNearly always
12The day after drinking alcohol, I had a very strong craving for a drink when I awoke.
Almost neverNearly always
13I drank more than a quarter of a bottle of spirits in a day (OR 1 bottle of wine OR 7 beers).
Almost neverNearly always
14I drank more than half a bottle of spirits per day (OR 2 bottles of wine OR 15 beers).
Almost neverNearly always
15I drank more than one bottle of spirits per day (OR 4 bottles of wine OR 30 beers).
Almost neverNearly always
16I drank more than two bottles of spirits per day (OR 8 bottles of wine OR 60 beers).
Almost neverNearly always

Scenario

Imagine the following situation: a) You have been completely off drink for a few weeks. b) You then drink very heavily for two days.

No = 0 | Slight = 1 | Moderate = 2 | A lot = 3

17I would start to sweat.
NoA lot
18My hands would shake.
NoA lot
19My body would shake.
NoA lot
20I would be craving for a drink.
NoA lot
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Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire Explained

SADQ is a self-administered 20-item questionnaire that evaluates severity of alcohol dependence. It is addressed to populations of problem drinkers: inpatient, outpatient and community-based treatment agency attenders.

It was originally formulated in by Edwards et al. in 1970 then subsequently redefined by Stockwell et al. in 1983. It takes up to 5 minutes to administer and it is easily scored.

The SADQ focuses on readily quantifiable elements of alcohol dependence and the 20-items may be divided into five subscales, with 4 items in each:

SADQ subscales Items
Physical Withdrawal 1. The day after drinking alcohol, I woke up feeling sweaty.
2. The day after drinking alcohol, my hands shook first thing in the morning.
3. The day after drinking alcohol, my whole body shook violently first thing in the morning if I didn't have a drink.
4. The day after drinking alcohol, I woke up absolutely drenched in sweat.
Affective Withdrawal 5. The day after drinking alcohol, I dread waking up in the morning.
6. The day after drinking alcohol, I was frightened of meeting people first thing in the morning.
7. The day after drinking alcohol, I felt at the edge of despair when I awoke.
8. The day after drinking alcohol, I felt very frightened when I awoke.
Withdrawal Relief Drinking 9. The day after drinking alcohol, I liked to have an alcoholic drink in the morning.
10. The day after drinking alcohol, I always gulped my first few alcoholic drinks down as quickly as possible.
11. The day after drinking alcohol, I drank more alcohol to get rid of the shakes.
12. The day after drinking alcohol, I had a very strong craving for a drink when I awoke.
Alcohol Consumption 13. I drank more than a quarter of a bottle of spirits in a day (OR 1 bottle of wine OR 7 beers).
14. I drank more than half a bottle of spirits per day (OR 2 bottles of wine OR 15 beers).
15. I drank more than one bottle of spirits per day (OR 4 bottles of wine OR 30 beers).
16. I drank more than two bottles of spirits per day (OR 8 bottles of wine OR 60 beers)
Rapidity of Reinstatement 17. I would start to sweat.
18. My hands would shake.
19. My body would shake.
20. I would be craving for a drink.

Items 1 - 16 are scored:

  • Almost never (0)
  • Sometimes (1)
  • Often (2)
  • Nearly always (3)

Items 17 - 20 are scored:

  • No (0)
  • Slight (1)
  • Moderate (2)
  • A lot (3)

The SADQ questionnaire may be used not only to screen alcohol dependence severity but also to predict the likelihood of achieving control drinking goals or predict alcohol withdrawal severity.

Scores range from 0 to 60, with results greater than 30 correlating with clinician’s rating of severe alcohol dependence.

SADQ score Interpretation Next steps
0 - 7 Non-dependent None for the moment, if there are concerns repeat screening at later date.
8 - 15 Mild dependence Focus on guiding towards safe drinking with tightly monitored alcohol consumption.
16 - 30 Moderate dependence Implement a period of abstinence. 80% may be able to control drinking once reintroduced but monitor carefully and ensure support is in place. 20% will not be able to control drinking and in case of relapse, permanent abstinence should be aimed for.
31 - 60 Severe dependence Implements permanent abstinence. Look into treatment for alcoholism, establishing family and community support and treatment for potential physical and psychological comorbidities.

Factor analysis yields single main factor accounting for 53 percent of variance and test-retest reliability of 0.85.

 

References

Original reference

Stockwell T, Hodgson R, Edwards G, Taylor C, Rankin H. The development of a questionnaire to measure severity of alcohol dependence. Br J Addict Alcohol Other Drugs. 1979; 74(1):79-87.

Stockwell T, Murphy D, Hodgson R. The severity of alcohol dependence questionnaire: its use, reliability and validity. Br J Addict. 1983; 78(2):145-155.

Other references

Conway KP, Levy J, Vanyukov M, et al. Measuring addiction propensity and severity: the need for a new instrument. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010; 111(1-2):4-12.

Heather N, Brodie J, Wale S, et al. A randomized controlled trial of Moderation-Oriented Cue Exposure. J Stud Alcohol. 2000; 61(4):561-570.

McCusker CG, Brown K. The cue-responsivity phenomenon in dependent drinkers: 'personality' vulnerability and anxiety as intervening variables. Br J Addict. 1991; 86(7):905-912.

Booth PG. Maintained controlled drinking following severe alcohol dependence--a case study. Br J Addict. 1990; 85(3):315-328.

Davidson R. Assessment of the alcohol dependence syndrome: a review of self-report screening questionnaires. Br J Clin Psychol. 1987; 26(4):243-255.

Edwards G. The alcohol dependence syndrome: a concept as stimulus to enquiry. Br J Addict. 1986; 81(2):171-183.


Objective: Screening

Type: Questionnaire

No. Of Items: 20

Year Of Study: 1983

Abbreviation: SADQ

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: July 21, 2020

Last Checked: July 21, 2020

Next Review: July 21, 2025