Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS)

The Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS) is a 5-item questionnaire that measures an individual’s craving to drink alcohol in the past week.


The Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS) is a five question instrument, which has been used in several clinical trials at the University of Pennsylvania's Treatment Research Center and was created around 1999. The PACS is a self-report measure that inquires about the frequency, intensity, and duration of craving, the ability to resist drinking, and asks for an overall rating of craving for alcohol over a week.

The PACS proved to have excellent internal consistency, used in multiple outpatient populations globally, and provides initial support for a concise broad-spectrum measure of aggregated alcohol cravings in an Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment population. Its design to examine alcohol usage patterns and studies have shown it's ideal for monitoring long-term treatment, but is not sufficient by itself to make a diagnosis by DSM-V for a Substance Use Disorder. The PACS was a strong predictor of subsequent drinking. The PACS score has been studied as a stand-in for the craving criterion with scores greater than 20 were considered to meet diagnostic criteria for craving for a diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder. However there isn't sufficient validated studies to use this cut off score in clinical practice.


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The Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS) calculator is created by QxMD.

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1. How often have you thought about drinking or about how good a drink would make you feel during this period?

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