Medically Fit For Exams
Medically Fit For Exams

Full alcohol history


  • Wash hands and introduce yourself
  • Check the patient’s name and DOB
  • Ask if it’s okay to have a chat about their drinking



  • Start with an open question, like any other history
    • What has brought you here today?
  • If not already mentioned, ask if they are concerned about their drinking


CAGE screening

  • Cutting down
    • Have they ever felt they should cut down on their drinking?
  • Annoyance
    • Do you feel annoyed at others commenting on how much you drink?
  • Guilty
    • Do they feel guilty about the amount they drink?
  • Early-morning
    • Do they ever have a drink to get them going in the morning?
  • A score of 2 or more is a cause for concern


Alcohol consumption

  • How old were they when they had their first drink?
  • How long have they been drinking more than they want to?
    • Has the increase been gradual, or was there something that elicited it?
  • When
    • Every day? Weekends? Evening only? All day?
  • With anyone? Or alone?
  • What do they drink?
    • Qualify alcohol percentage if unsure, eg beers can range from 2-10%
    • Do they drink it straight, or mixed with anything?
  • How much?
    • Start higher than you think
    • In a day
    • In a week
  • Is there anything that makes you drink more?
  • How much do you spend on alcohol in a week?



  • If you don’t have a drink for a while do you get any physical symptoms like shaking, feeling sick, headaches, sweats?
  • Any anger, irritability, frustration, sadness?
  • Do you ever crave a drink or feel like you need a drink?
  • Do you have to drink more now to get the same effect from the alcohol?


Effects on daily living

  • Has drinking had any adverse effects on your relationships?
  • Who do you live with?
  • Do you have a job and has drinking had any adverse effects on it?
  • Have you ever been in contact with the police as a result of your drinking?
  • Have you ever tried to stop drinking before?


Effects on health

  • Have you ever had to go to hospital in relation to drinking?
  • How’s your diet?
  • Do you have any medical problems or anything you see the doctor about regularly?
  • Do you take any medications?
  • Do you take any recreational drugs?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • Are you a smoker?


Family history

  • Family history of alcoholism or liver disease



  • Ask the patient if they have any questions or anything they’re worried about
  • Tell the patient your opinion of their drinking, don’t shy away from the truth
  • Offer advice if necessary
  • Ask the patient if there’s anything they think you’ve missed out
  • Thank the patient for talking to you



Full alcohol history.docx
Microsoft Word document [15.0 KB]

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