Alcohol is everywhere: whether as a creative hobby for craft brewers, a “trendy” way for moms to get through a play date or an anti-drunk driving hashtag. With binge drinking, ignition interlock legislation and intoxicated teachers all creating a buzz in the headlines, there’s never a bad time to examine our own relationship with “the sauce.” Since some behaviors and consequences clearly point to a problem with alcohol (a drunk driving conviction, the “rolling retest” of a car breathalyzer or the crowd cheering, “NORM,” as you stroll into a bar), one test has stood as the definitive screening device for alcoholism in less obvious cases for almost 50 years: the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST).
Alcoholism is as old as the presence of alcohol, but, it was not until 1971 that a test focused more on the lifestyle of an alcoholic, not his or her blood alcohol concentration at that moment. With 22 questions, the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test gives insight into the patterns of drinking a person has fallen into, plus, the negative results of those behaviors on their life, health and more. The MAST encourages a person to be self-aware and take that first step to admit there could be a problem with alcohol addiction or abuse.
If a problem with alcohol exists, treatment options are available, including Alcoholics Anonymous, in-patient and out-patient alcohol and substance abuse programs, as well as counseling (or a combination of the above). For over 40 years, the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test has been a valuable tool for determining alcohol addiction and a much-needed instrument in the fight against alcohol abuse, drunk driving and more. If you have a problem with alcohol, the MAST may help point you into a safer direction where blackouts, outrageous bar tabs and hangovers become less inevitable, and you get your buzz from making healthy choices.