CAGE questionnaire

Last reviewed 01/2018

Alcohol dependence is likely if the patient gives 2 or more positive answers:

  • have you ever felt you should CUT down your drinking?
  • have people ANNOYED you by criticising your drinking?
  • have you ever felt bad or GUILTY about your drinking?
  • have you ever had a drink first think in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover (EYE- opener)? (1)

A score of 2 to 3 indicates a high index of suspicion and a score of 4 is virtually diagnostic for alcoholism (2).

  • Bernadt et al have claimed that the CAGE test (scores >=2) has a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 76% for the identification of problem drinkers
  • the sensitivity of the CAGE questionnaire in screening for alcoholism is dramatically enhanced by an open-ended introduction (3)

The CAGE shares the disadvantage of the MAST that it asks about the respondent’s lifetime experience of alcohol rather than focusing on the recent past (1)