Asking About Addictions

There are high rates of substance use in traumatized adults (Keane & Wolfe, for sale 1990). A woman may use drugs and/or alcohol to numb her trauma related thoughts and memories.. It is important to ask about substance use practices and habits, and also about gambling. The following is an adapted addictions screening tool and is a quick and simple aid to use with your client. A “yes” answer to any of these questions will indicate that further information is required. Should a client identify substance use and/or gambling as a problem, refer her to the appropriate agency in your area for an assessment.

  1. Have you ever thought you ought to cut down on your drinking/drug use/gambling?
  2. Have you ever needed more alcohol and/or drugs to have the same effect as before?
  3. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking/drug use/gambling?
  4. Have you felt bad or guilty about your drinking/drug use/gambling?
  5. Have you ever had a drink and/or used drugs first thing in the morning to steady your nerves, or get rid of a hangover, or to get the day started?
  6. Have you ever had any problems related to your use of alcohol/drugs/gambling?
  7. Has a relative, friend, doctor or other health worker been concerned about your drinking or other drug use, or suggested cutting down?
  8. Have you ever said to another person “No, I don’t have an alcohol/drug/gambling problem”, when around the same time you questioned yourself and felt … “maybe I do have a problem?”