The Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test, or SMAST for short, is a fast and reliable alcoholic test that can diagnose alcohol dependency. The SMAST could be more practical to use in a busy primary care practice, particularly as a viable replacement to the CAGE questionnaire.
The SMAST test is comprised of questions taken directly from the longer Michigan Alcohol Screening Test.
It only has 13 questions as opposed to the 24 of its big brother the MAST. This means it can be used in situations that require a swift assessment.
This tool is often used by Addiction Counselors and other Mental Health Professionals to assess a persons drinking concerns. It is possible for individuals to take the assessment their self, however bear in mind that without proper training, it is possible to make a mistake when administering and/or understanding the results.
If you take the assessment yourself and have questions afterwards, please consult with your Medical Doctor or another Mental Health Professional.
Research has shown that, although not as comprehensive as the MAST test, the SMAST is accurate and a good way to diagnose if someone is abusing alcohol or is an alcoholic.
As with the longer MAST test there are points associated with each answer. It is important to keep track of your tally before checking what your score means.
If your test result indicates you have a drinking problem, or you are worried about your drinking, it is strongly advisable to consult an alcohol specialist.
Usually this means making an appointment with an alcohol/addiction counselor and discussing your alcohol consumption with him/her.
You can search for an addiction counselor on line, or ask for a referral from your insurance company if appropriate. Chances are, there is a counselor near you who would be able to assist you.
If you feel more comfortable with your family doctor then go to them by all means. Most doctors have a good knowledge of alcoholism and its signs. When you talk with your doctor, discuss your goals. Are you aiming to drink less or totally stop drinking? Together, you could start to create a treatment plan. If they think you have a problem they can refer you to a counselor/treatment center.
The positive news is that regardless of how serious the problem might seem, a lot of people suffering from alcohol use disorder could benefit from some kind of treatment. There are a few different levels of treatment appropriate for alcoholism. Which one is right for you will depend on several factors. Examples of this would be how long you have been drinking heavily, negative consequences you have experienced and if you experience alcohol withdrawal when you stop drinking.
These are all factors that your doctor will take into consideration before they give you their professional recommendation. If you have questions about how they reached their decision, I would encourage you to ask questions. Knowledge is power, and it can help you understand the severity of your drinking concerns.
Another option is to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in your area. Support groups could be particularly helpful when you are going through treatment for alcohol misuse. These meetings are very simple in format. They generally involve alcoholics sharing their alcoholism stories, feelings, and struggles with alcohol. This is a good way to discover more about alcoholism and to decide whether you have a problem. You don't have to speak at these meetings if you don't want to, you can just listen.
To find a meeting near you, you can go to https://aa.org and use their search tool. This allows you to look for in person meetings as well as virtual meetings. Face to face meetings are strongly encouraged because it gives you the opportunity to interact with others which can lead to the development of a support network.
There is a variety of concerns that individuals can have about attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Some worry that it is a cult or feel uncomfortable with the use of God in the AA literature. I would encourage you to TRY a meeting before you discount it. You may be surprised.
Alcoholics Anonymous, however, is not for everybody and there are plenty of options out there for those who do not want to go down the AA route, or have found the 12-step method to be alien to them. Read AA alternatives for more.
If you try an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and feel that it is not a good fit for you, know that there are other self help meeting options out there. The truth is that there are several options in fact. This means that there is a good chance that you can find one that you feel comfortable with.
Examples of alternatives would be Smart Recovery, Women for Sobriety and Life Ring Secular Recovery. For more information about other options, please go to Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous .
The bottom line is that if you have any concerns about your drinking, it may be worth looking into recovery. Consequences from drinking can occur at any stage of alcoholism and drinking which means that someone could experience consequences after an occasional night of binge drinking.
There are professionals who would be able to assist you in your journey to a healthier life style if you choose to take a step in that direction.