(0.33) Dr Seliger and the questions
(1.36) The test
Are You an Alcoholic?
If you are in doubt about whether you have a drinking problem, one of the best places to start is by taking “The Johns Hopkins 20 Questions: Are You an Alcoholic?” These 20 questions for alcoholics are also known as the 20 questions of AA.
These questions are not intended to be used as part of a professional medical evaluation, but as a self-testing means to determine how much alcohol is influencing and affecting your life…
I’ve taken the test and can answer yes to most of them.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll do an article and video on each of these questions, but for now I just wanted introduce them.
They were originally conceived by, and need to be attributed to, Dr Robert Victor Seliger while he was a Department of Psychiatry faculty member at the Johns
Hopkins Hospital in the 1930’s.
Email From Johns Hopkins
Here is a copy of an email from a local AA intergroup member, who in turn is providing a snippet of an e-mail she received from John’s Hopkins Hospital stating their official position.
++++Message 754. . . . . . . . . . . . Johns Hopkins 20 Questions answered
From: email@example.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/4/2003 6:37:00 AM
Juliet from our local Intergroup has come up with some interesting facts
about the 20 questions. I forward the following
Below is a snippet from an e-mail I received from a contact from Johns
Hopkins’ media relations department:
This is from a faculty member in our Psychiatry dept.
“The Johns Hopkins Twenty Questions: Are You An Alcoholic? was developed in
the 1930s by Dr. Robert Seliger, who at that time was a faculty member in
the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was intended
for use as a self-assessment questionnaire to determine the extent of one’s
alcohol use. It was not intended to be used by professionals as a screening
tool to help them formulate a diagnosis of alcoholism in their patients.
We do not use this questionnaire at any of the Johns Hopkins substance abuse
treatment programs. To the best of my knowledge, there have never been any
reliable or validated studies conducted using the Hopkins Twenty Questions.
I advise you to consider using other instruments such as the Michigan
Alcoholism Screening Test or the CAGE ” both of which have proven
reliability and validity as reported in the scientific literature.”
So, the questions should be attributed to Dr.Robert Seliger of Johns Hopkins
(in the 1930s), not to Johns Hopkins itself as they no longer advocate their
use. I note as well that the e-mail I sent to you all earlier from the
Literature Desk at GSO stated that the hospital had requested that GSO not
attribute those questions to their institution in the pamphlet “Memo to an
Inmate Who May Be an Alcoholic.”
If you know anyone who would like permission to reprint this piece, I have a
contact at Johns Hopkins to whom I can refer them. I have been in contact
with the faculty member who knew the history of this document and who
recommended that we not use it. She was very adamant about it–in a second
e-mail to me, she said that she’d grant permission to any AA group who
wanted to use it, but that she really recommended that we don’t.
I hope this information is helpful.
20 Questions for Alcoholics!
Here are the 20 questions from the Johns Hopkins Are You an Alcoholic test.
1 Have you lost time from your work because of your drinking?
2 Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
3 Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
4 Is drinking affecting your reputation?
5 Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
6 Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
7 Do you turn to lower companions or environment when drinking?
8 Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
9 Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
10 Do you want a drink the next morning?
11 Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
12 Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
13 Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
14 Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
15 Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?
16 Do you drink alone?
17 Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
18 Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
19 Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
20 Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking?
The conclusions that came with the test
If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be an alcoholic.
If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic.
If you have answered YES to three or more, you are definitely an alcoholic.
You can also download a PDF copy of the questions here: Are You an Alcoholic – The Johns Hopkins 20 Questions (PDF)
**** You should apply these questions over a fixed period of time, perhaps a year.
**** You need to be completely honest with yourself.
**** No-one else is going to see the results of your test.
**** I would suggest that if you answer ‘yes’ to any three of the questions that you at least have a quick chat with your doctor!
Please leave a comment below if you have any opinion or questions.
Onwards and Upwards!
Downnload the video transcsript here: Video Transcript 20 questions for alcoholics! The Johns Hopkins Questions (Introduction)