Substance abuse evaluations are necessary to develop an appropriate and effective treatment plan that is based on the unique factors and individual needs of each patient. In order to have the best chances of maintaining sobriety and reaching recovery, assessment and treatment are key. Substance abuse evaluations are clinical tools that are used to establish the level of substance abuse and the way in which addiction treatment specialists develop and administer an individualized plan of care.
Substance abuse evaluations should be comprehensive and typically give the following information: Determines if there is an alcohol or drug addiction present – The level of or extent of addiction – Determination of if there are any co-occurring conditions present (e.g., physical health problems, chronic conditions, mental health disorders, or poly drug use – The impact that substance abuse has on work, school, home, and relationships
What Happens During a Substance Abuse Evaluation
Substance Abuse evaluations include both screening and assessment. Screening is an evaluation process that determines the possible existence of an issue. An assessment is a process that allows for the definition of the issue, which then informs a diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations.
There are several different types of professionals that may conduct a substance abuse evaluation, including:
- social worker
These health professionals will conduct written assessments and interviews in order to determine health history, history of drug use, history of alcohol use, the way in which it affects the individual’s life, and the history of treatment. If a doctor conducts the substance abuse evaluation, they may require a physical as well. Screening is a key element in the process of substance abuse evaluation, as it allows for support and preemptive care if a risk factor is found. This allows for the individual to receive help before their substance use progresses any further. There are several commonly used substance abuse screening tools that are available in-person or online. Keep in mind that it is always more effective to be screened by a professional who is trained to assess and determine the results and assist the individual with treatment and support.
These screening tools include:
- CAGE Questionnaire – has four questions and is a commonly used method of screening substance abuse.
- Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI) – this tool is able to identify individual risk factors and behaviors related to alcohol abuse and is self-administered. The Alcohol Use Inventory is helpful in recognizing the individual differences related to alcohol abuse including lifestyle choices, risky behaviors, and results from abusing alcohol. State Inventories – Certain states may have their own mandated screening tool for alcohol or substance abuse that is a part of the comprehensive evaluation.
- Substance Abuse Subtle Screening inventory – The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening inventory is able to determine the level of alcohol or substance use, if the drinking is recreational or social, if an individual’s use is mild or severe, how willing the individual is to identify issues, the individual’s willingness to change.
Substance abuse screenings differ in comparison to a substance abuse assessment. The goal of an assessment is to determine evidence that either supports or disproves the absence or presence of a condition that is diagnosable, like substance use disorder. Assessments begin with an interview in which the medical professional reviews the results of the screening with the patient. The assessor will then begin to ask questions regarding information gained in the screening process in order to obtain a thorough picture of the patient’s alcohol or substance abuse.
There are two tools that are commonly used in the assessment process when evaluating alcohol and substance use evaluations:
- Addiction Severity Index: The Addiction Severity Index is an interview-based assessment that evaluates the drug use, alcohol use, employment, level of support, psychiatric status, medical status, and social/family status of an individual. This assessment tool looks at the past 30 days of drug and alcohol use, as well as the overall lifetime use of the individual.
- Diagnostic Interview Schedule: This assessment tool is administered in the form of a questionnaire that specifies the presence of diagnosis within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
If you would like more information regarding substance abuse screening and assessment, please contact our team today at 833-364-0736. We look forward to speaking with you and assisting you during this time.