At 25 questions, the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST) might seem a bit long, but it's one of the most widely-used and accurate screening tools available. It is well worth completing all of the questions if you'd like to know whether your drinking has become a problem.
To take the test, simply select the most honest answer that you can for each question and then click the button to move forward. Your results will be scored at the end.
Scroll down below the test if you would like to learn more about the test itself.
About the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST)
This electronic alcoholism test is based upon the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST). The MAST, which was first developed in 1971, is one of the most accurate and widely used alcoholism screening tools around.
It consists of 25 questions related to a patient's own beliefs about alcohol-related problems in his or her social, work and family life.
While the test is very accurate, it does have a couple of weaknesses. One is its length, which sometimes makes it more difficult to use in busy settings. The other is its focus on lifetime alcohol problems, rather than the patient's current situation, which makes the test less reliable for detecting recently developed alcohol dependence.
Several other shorter versions of the MAST have also been formulated based upon the 25-question original, including the short MAST (13 questions), the brief MAST (10 questions) and two different geriatric versions (10 and 24 questions).
How This Test Can Help You
The topic of alcoholism is of special interest to those with depression because people with this mental disorder are at significantly greater risk of developing a dependence on alcohol than their non-depressed counterparts. Presumably this is because people use the mind-altering effects of alcohol in an attempt to cope with the painful feelings of depression. However, unfortunately for them, alcohol is also a depressant and it can exacerbate these bad feelings. If you have become dependent upon alcohol as a coping mechanism it is very important that you identify this problem and deal with it in order for you to get your depression under control. This test can help you identify whether your drinking has become a problem for you so that you can seek the help that you need.
A Word of Warning About Alcoholism and Suicide
People who have co-existing depression and alcoholism are at much greater risk of attempting - and succeeding - at suicide. This is because alcohol exacerbates the painful feelings of depression, while, at the same time, impairing judgment and making people more impulsive in their behavior. This risk makes it especially important that people who are suffering from both conditions get professional help immediately if this test indicates that they do indeed have a problem.
How to Get Help for Alcoholism
If you have decided to get help with a drinking problem, know that you are not alone. There are many different types of support resources available to you, including treatment facilities, medical treatments and support groups. A good place to get started in learning about your options is Buddy T's listing of help resources on About.com's Alcoholism site.
In general, however, some of the steps that you will want to follow as you recover from alcohol abuse include:
- building a support network of sober friends,
- avoiding situation which trigger the urge to drink,
- taking responsibility for your own recovery,
- using your support groups as a starting point for making friends, and
- reporting any unusual symptoms to your doctor if you are taking any medications for either depression or alcoholism.
Be Aware That Your Depression May Worsen When You Quit
As you are quitting alcohol, you need to be very aware that your depression may temporarily worsen for about three to four weeks after you stop drinking. It is a wise idea to have someone monitoring you during this critical time period rather than attempting to go it alone.
Jacob, M. "Why Alcohol and Depression Don’t Mix." Psych Central. Last reviewed: January 30, 2013. Accessed: October 1, 2013.
Selzer ML. "The Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test: The quest for a new diagnostic instrument." American Journal of Psychiatry. 127.12 (1971) : 1653-1658.
Zwolinski, R. and C.R. Zwolinkski. "Depression and Alcoholism: Five Tips for Recovery. Psych Central." Psych Central. Last reviewed: January 30, 2013. Accessed: October 1, 2013.