An Addictive Test: The CAGE Questionnaire

The CAGE questionnaire is a quick way to gauge whether or not your cravings are out of control.

“We are not meant to live in constant ecstasy.”

So said Erin Lommen, ND, during a presentation at the 2014 Integrative Health Symposium entitled Cravings, Contentment, and Correcting Chemical Imbalances: Solving the “always wanting more” syndrome.

Two points made in Lommen’s session particularly struck Experience Life health editor Anjula Razdan, who attended the conference and tweeted about it for the magazine: The number of snacks you wouldn’t think contain caffeine that do, such as waffles, sunflower seeds, and kettle-cooked chips (further evidence that food manufacturers are keen to hook unexpected consumers). And the existence of the CAGE questionnaire, which is designed to help people determine whether they have an issue with alcohol or drugs.

Answer yes to two of the following questions, says Lommen — a naturopathic physician who regularly speaks about topics such as adrenal health, hormone balancing, depression, and chronic fatigue — and you may want to seek out further information from a medical professional.

The CAGE Questions

  1. Have you ever felt you need to Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?
  4. Have you ever felt you needed a drink from the in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

Modified versions of this test are also used, with varying degrees of accuracy, to gauge a person’s relationship to other potentially addictive substances or practices, including food, the Internet, and sex.

If you’re particularly interested in whether or not you or a loved one has a healthy relationship with alcohol, there are various questionnaires that go a bit deeper. One such test, available from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., features 26 yes or no questions.

Whatever the issue you’re struggling with, though, make sure to consult a medical professional if you have concerns or questions.

David Schimke is Experience Life's editor in chief.

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