FAST Alcohol Screen – Definition, Procedure, and Where to Avail
30 October, 2023
The FAST alcohol screen is a simple and quick assessment test. This helps in determining the presence and severity of alcohol use in an individual. Accordingly, it generally involves a series of questions, usually three components, from the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT questionnaire). It is easy to administer, as the professional will only ask questions. People who want or need to take FAST can avail of it in medical care settings, primary care settings, and counselling offices.
Alcohol consumption is a common practice in many social settings and occasions. While moderate drinking can be enjoyed responsibly, excessively and having a history of alcohol misuse can have detrimental effects on physical and mental health. Hence, by taking the alcohol use screening test, people can gain insights into their drinking patterns and make informed decisions about their alcohol intake. This article will present more about FAST, its procedures, and where to avail.
Definition of FAST Alcohol Screen
One simple method to screen for alcohol misuse is the FAST alcohol screen. It is a type of screening for alcohol consumption to quickly assess the levels of alcohol usage and the level of risk of harmful drinking. This method is common in rapid situations, such as in accident & emergency settings. Accordingly, this is beneficial to determine if a person has severe alcohol dependence or alcohol disorders.
The FAST screening includes a set of questions, typically from the AUDIT alcohol consumption questions. This is to gather information about dependence on alcohol and its alcohol-related harm. It is a convenient and efficient method to assess whether a person has a high level of risk for harmful drinking. The alcohol screening test is conducted by a professional, and the session only lasts for a short period.
Accordingly, the candidate answers the questions with honesty. Such response has equivalent scores, which provides result on whether a person has hazardous drinking habits. If the screening is positive, the conductor can apply the whole AUDIT questionnaire.
Purpose of the Screening
The following are the purpose of the alcohol use screening tests:
- It assesses the harmful drinking habits of a person quickly and efficiently.
- This is a prompt and efficient method to identify potential alcohol-related harm or risks.
- The approach helps individuals understand their drinking patterns and recognise any problematic behaviour.
- To guide medical settings, practitioners, or employers in determining appropriate actions and interventions.
- This promotes safety in certain settings by identifying people at risk of harmful drinking. It eliminates accidents and impairment.
- It provides a primary care setting or assessment, prompting further evaluation if necessary.
The Procedure of FAST Alcohol Screen
The procedure for conducting a FAST alcohol screen involves several steps to gather information. Firstly, the conductor will prepare a questionnaire. This is typically choosing three queries from an AUDIT questionnaire. It may include the frequency, quantity, and drinking patterns. Then, the administrator will introduce this to the candidate, particularly its purpose and the benefit of having an honest response.
The health provider may conduct the screening for alcohol misuse in different ways. It can be self-administered, where the individual fills out the questionnaire for alcohol consumption. Or, it can be through an interview, where the conductor will ask the questions and record the responses. Nevertheless, it is essential to answer the questions honestly.
Upon finishing the questionnaire, the professional will score and interpret it. This can be through the use of a scoring system or guidelines. The scores can help identify severity algorithms and risk-related alcohol usage. If the result is high, the conductor may further advance the session by answering the 10-question full version AUDIT and a breathalyser test.
Factors that May Influence the Result
Several factors can influence the results of the alcohol screening tests. The validity of the screening relies on the honesty and accuracy of alcohol use. If a person intentionally provides false or misleading information, it can affect the reliability of the results. Also, if the person is not fully conscious of their history of alcohol dependence, it can lead to inaccurate assessment.
The person who conducts the screening should be knowledgeable enough to administer the test. A conductor who is not well-trained may influence the scoring, leading to inaccurate results. Also, if a person just recently drinks liquor, typical drinking habits may not accurately reflect.
Where to Avail of FAST Alcohol Screen
To avail of a FAST alcohol screen, people have a range of settings to consider. One common option is to seek a healthcare provider or have a clinical assessment. This includes primary care physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, and addiction specialists. Another is rehabilitation centres that specialise in ethanol addiction or substance abuse treatment.
People can also opt for help in the health community settings. These centres aim to provide accessible healthcare services to a sample population. It can also be a valuable resource for people looking for intervention for alcohol use. Another response to alcohol use is by undergoing Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) given by companies.
Furthermore, several online platforms and websites offer screening for alcohol misuse. People can access screening remotely and obtain immediate results. This can be a convenient option for those seeking quick and confidential testing. Support organisations can also give treatment services to high-risk drinking. These groups focus on eliminating liquor addiction, improving mental health and creating care interventions.
The cost of screening for alcohol misuse through healthcare providers varies depending on factors such as fees, location, and insurance coverage. Additionally, for rehabilitation centres, the cost can extend to the type of facility, the evaluation processes, and additional services. Nevertheless, the cost of community health centres is typically lower.
The EAPs of organisations are commonly part of the benefit packages of employees and do not incur costs. However, it is essential to ask the company to assess if it has additional costs. For online settings, some platforms offer the test for free, while some may require a subscription.
A FAST alcohol screen is a beneficial tool to promptly monitor and address harmful drinking. It is easy to administer and may take no more than ten minutes. The assessment is also accurate since the questions are from the alcohol use disorders identification queries. Accordingly, the professional is also knowledgeable in conducting the evaluation, increasing the reliability of the scoring. Nevertheless, the candidate should give a response to the best of their ability.
FAST is a valuable method that helps medical practitioners and other people identify excessive drinking habits and make early interventions. People can avail of the screening in various options. This includes visiting an online platform, healthcare provider, rehabilitation programs, or engaging in a support group. Some options are free while others incur costs. Regardless, it is important to recognise the purpose of the screening to eliminate risks associated with alcohol.