A substance abuse assessment

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. Substance abuse rehab begins with this assessment.

Who Administers A Substance Abuse Assessment?

Many professionals are trained to determine whether addiction is present in individuals engaged in substance abuse, including:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists
  • Social workers
  • Counselors
  • 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.

Addictions Covered by a Substance Abuse Assessment

At San Antonio Recovery Center, we treat a wide variety of substances. No matter what substance you've abused, we're ready to help you start your road to recovery. From alcohol to cocaine to prescription drugs, San Antonio Recovery Center can perform a substance abuse assessment. Substance addictions assessed at San Antonio Recovery Center include but aren't limited to:

What Comes After 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 comprises a full spectrum of advanced treatment modalities for meeting each client's particular recovery needs.

What Happens in Addiction Treatment?

Addiction treatment is a process that helps people overcome their addictions to drugs, alcohol and other substances. The main goal of addiction treatment is to enable patients to return to normal life and be productive members of society. While there are many different approaches to treating substance abuse, most programs have similar components, including:


Many patients begin their addiction treatment by going through a supervised detoxification, or cleansing process. During this time, they receive medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal and help them manage cravings.


Most programs rely heavily on therapy sessions as part of their overall treatment plan. These sessions may be individual or group-based, and may focus on a variety of issues, ranging from coping skills to relationship problems.

Medical Support

Some patients also need ongoing medical support during their treatment program. This might involve medication for physical or mental health conditions, as well as referrals to other health care professionals if needed.

Education and Skill-Building

Many programs include educational components as well, to help patients learn more about addiction and ways to address it. This may involve anything from learning how to manage stress without using drugs or alcohol to developing healthy social skills.

Aftercare Planning

Finally, many programs coordinate an aftercare plan for patients once they complete treatment. This might involve things like attending support groups or joining a 12-step program, as well as making necessary arrangements for employment, housing and other needs.

Get The Help You Need Today

Addiction treatment is an important step in helping patients overcome their addictions and re-enter society as healthy individuals. To learn more about the components of addiction treatment programs and how they can help you or a loved one, speak to a reputable treatment provider.

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.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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