Nov 17, 2020  |   2 minute read

Dependence – Alcohol | SADQ

Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ)

Recommended frequency: Every 8 weeks


The Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire was developed by the Addiction Research Unit at the Maudsley Hospital. It is a measure of the severity of dependence. The SADQ questions cover the following aspects of dependency syndrome:

  • Physical withdrawal symptoms;
  • Affective withdrawal symptoms;
  • Relief drinking; frequency of alcohol consumption; and
  • Speed of onset of withdrawal symptoms

Psychometric Properties

A validity study showed data indicating that individual items, sections and also the total scores of the SADQ have consistently high test-retest reliability coefficients. In addition, it is shown that SADQ scores have low, but significant, correlations with indicators of withdrawal severity for individuals treated at a Detoxification Unit. SADQ scores failed to correlate with indices of liver functioning. The study concludes that the SADQ is a quick, reliable and valid instrument.


The Scale

Please recall a typical period of heavy drinking in the last 2 months. Please answer all the following questions about your drinking by circling your most appropriate response.

During that period of heavy drinking…

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Imagine the following situation:

1. You have been  completely off drink for a few weeks 
2. You then drink  very heavily for two days

How would you feel the  morning after those two days of drinking?

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A score of 31 or higher indicates “severe alcohol dependence”. A score of 16 -30 indicates “moderate dependence”. A score of below 16 usually indicates only a mild physical dependency. The authors note that a chlordiazepoxide detoxification regime is usually indicated for someone who scores 16 or over.

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Copyright Information

Stockwell, T., Murphy, D. & Hodgson, R. (1983). The severity of alcohol dependence questionnaire: Its use, reliability and validity. British Journal of Addiction, 78(2), 45-156.