The first step in treatment for heroin or alcohol addiction is usually a substance abuse assessment. This screening determines the following about an individual’s addiction:
- If addiction exists
- Extent of the addiction
- Whether co-occurring conditions exist
- What facets of treatment should be included in a treatment plan
Substance abuse assessments are usually privately conducted tests administered by health care or behavioral professionals trained to diagnose addiction. Treatment facilities use these these assessments to develop individualized treatment plans.
Who can administer a substance abuse assessment?
Many professionals are trained to determine whether addiction is present in individuals engaged in substance abuse, including:
- Social workers
- Emergency room personnel
Most patients are assessed by more than one person. This ensures that a clear perspective of patients’ substance abuse exists, with two or more people conferring regarding signs and symptoms. As a result, a correct diagnosis can be confirmed and a thorough approach to treatment can be planned.
About the Substance Abuse Assessment Process
The process of a substance abuse assessment starts with completion of a standardized questionnaire. This document asks potential addicts about their use, treatment history, behavioral patterns, symptoms, health background and effects of use on their lives.
After this questionnaire has been reviewed by the doctor or clinician, he or she will conduct an interview. During these interviews, patients are asked questions designed to help form diagnoses. Clinicians often take notes during these sessions, but patients need not fear disclosure. Such notes are only used by the clinician and are kept confidential.
Once the interview is completed, a physical examination by the doctor or nurse may follow. The healthcare provider will be looking for physical symptoms of substance addiction and any co-occurring health conditions.
Some tests may be ordered, such as a urinalysis or blood samples. Urine tests are the most frequently requested tests by healthcare providers, but blood may be needed to see if liver functioning has been damaged by excessive drinking. Together, all of these components of the substance abuse assessment provide results that form the basis for the clinician’s diagnosis.
Bigger Purpose of the Substance Abuse Assessment
Perhaps the most important role of a substance abuse assessment is that of helping addiction treatment specialists develop an individualized treatment plan. The treatment plan is a pathway to recovery and lifelong sobriety, when followed. At San Antonio Recovery Center, this treatment plan is composed of a full spectrum of advanced treatment modalities designed to meet each client’s particular recovery needs.
It’s time to defeat addiction once and for all. For more information about how to set up a substance abuse assessment for you or someone you love, as well as how treatment can help, call San Antonio Recovery Center at 866-957-7885 today.