Under the proposed DSM-5 revision to the criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD), a substantial proportion of DSM-IV AUD cases will be lost or shifted in terms of severity, with some new cases added. Accordingly, the performance of the AUDIT-C in screening for DSM-IV AUD cannot be assumed to extend to DSM-5 AUD. The objective of this paper is to compare the AUDIT-C in screening for DSM-IV and DSM-5 AUD.
Using a broad range of performance metrics, the AUDIT-C was tested and contrasted as a screener for DSM-IV AUD (any AUD, abuse and dependence) and DSM-5 AUD (any AUD, moderate AUD and severe AUD) in a representative sample of U.S. adults aged 21 and older and among past-year drinkers.
Optimal AUDIT-C cutpoints were identical for DSM-IV and DSM-5 AUD: ≥4 for any AUD, ≥3 or ≥4 for abuse/moderate AUD and ≥4 or ≥5 for dependence/severe AUD. Screening performance was slightly better for DSM-5 severe AUD than DSM-IV dependence but did not differ for other diagnoses. At optimal screening cutpoints, positive predictive values were slightly higher for DSM-5 overall AUD and moderate AUD than for their DSM-IV counterparts. Sensitivities were slightly higher for DSM-5 severe AUD than DSM-IV dependence. Optimal screening cutpoints shifted upwards for past-year drinkers but continued to be identical for DSM-IV and DSM-5 disorders.
Clinicians should not face any major overhaul of their current screening procedures as a result of the DSM-5 revision and should benefit from fewer false positive screening results.
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