For most of us, the idea of being trapped in a cage is a horrifying thought, worthy of the scariest horror movie. Yet, for many of us, addiction forms just such a cage. The CAGE tool developed by UW-Madison can help us determine if we are “caged” by substance abuse.
There are 4 CAGE-AID questions (named from the 4 words in the questions):
- Have you ever tried to Cut down on your drinking or other drug use?
- Have you ever felt Angry at or annoyed by someone else’s comments about your drinking or other drug use?
- Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking or other drug use?
- Have you ever used alcohol or other drugs as an Eye-opener—that is, have you used first thing in the morning?
CAGE tests are frequently used to identify substance abuse related to both common illegal substances (Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Cannabis, whose legality varies) and legal substances that are abused (Alcohol, Nicotine, and Prescription medications). According to medical experts, answering “yes” to two or more of these suggests you may have a substance dependency. Sources like Security Health report that “the consensus panel of the substance abuse and mental health services administration recommends that primary care physicians lower the threshold to one positive answer…” to be more accurate in uncovering substance abuse disorders.
The original CAGE tool only asked about drinking and was expanded to include drug use (CAGE “Adapted to Include Drug use” -> CAGE-AID). While not designed for these purposes, the same tool may also be helpful for many of types of addiction that do not involve substances. If you are co-dependent, have you ever felt Angry at or annoyed by someone else’s comments about your co-dependent behavior? Have you Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your frequent outbursts of anger?
If you find yourself locked into a cage of addiction of any type, Celebrate Recovery® is here to help. Check out the local CR schedule to find the key to unlock your path to freedom.