What to Expect During a Substance Abuse Assessment?

What to Expect During a Substance Abuse Assessment?
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A drug and alcohol evaluation or assessment can help determine the severity of substance misuse, the probability of addiction, and if a co-occurring mental health issue may be present. Different from a screening which identifies a potential problem, a drug and alcohol assessment uses tools to identify a drug and/or alcohol problem. Some of the common screening tools include:

  • NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Quick Screen: Frequency questions about drug use
  • DAST (Drug Abuse Screen Test): Yes or no questions about drug use
  • SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment): Questionnaire to identify risk of drug misuse or addiction with strategies to make healthy changes
  • AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test: Multiple choice questions on alcohol consumption
  • CAGE (Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-Opener): Yes or no questions about alcohol use
  • SBI (Screening with Brief Intervention): Yes or no questions about alcohol use followed with brief interventions or strategies to change drinking habits

Various agencies and drug and alcohol rehab centers perform substance abuse assessments to evaluate if a program is a good fit for an individual. During a drug and alcohol assessment, the provider gathers information, including medical history, mental and physical health, family history, and substance use patterns. This information can help guide the provider and build an appropriate treatment plan for the individual. When possible, family and friends can contribute. Though not always possible, this can provide additional feedback during the assessment that may help create a more effective treatment plan.

Sometimes, a court mandated drug and alcohol assessment is required. This can happen when an individual is convicted of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, or arrested for drug or alcohol possession.

In this article, we’ll cover types of tools addiction counselors and providers use during drug and alcohol assessments to determine the best level of care for individuals.

Drug and Alcohol Assessment Tools

Questionnaires and diagnostic tools determine substance use patterns and drug and/or alcohol misuse or addiction. During an assessment, the provider gathers more in-depth information for diagnosis and treatment plan and goals. Providers take a multi-disciplinary approach during a drug and alcohol assessment. This means they use several methods for collecting information to get a broader idea of where the client is in their addiction. For best results, assessments continue during treatment and recovery to evaluate what is working and what needs fine-tuning.

A comprehensive assessment examines the various areas of one’s life and experiences through a psychosocial interview. During the interview, the provider gathers information such as:

  • Physical Health and Medical History
  • Substance Abuse History
  • Mental Health and Treatment History
  • Family, Personal Relationships, and Support Persons
  • Sociocultural History
  • Educational, Work, and Military History
  • Legal History
  • Potential Obstacles to Recovery
  • Strategies for Coping with Challenges

Providers or treatment center clinicians also use assessment tools for substance use disorders. There are a wide variety of assessments available, and types can differ from treatment center to treatment center. Clinicians and counselors use these assessments through the course of treatment as an evaluation tool to measure the effectiveness of treatment.

We can find many screening and assessment tools online for free, and people can complete them quickly and gain insight without the need of a trained clinician. By no means are these online resources diagnostic tools, but they can make a great starting point and provide useful answers for people who question their relationship with drugs and/or alcohol. Sites such as Mental Health America or local hospitals and community organizations provide free quizzes that can identify potential problems with drug and/or alcohol use.

Schedule A Complimentary Drug and Alcohol Screening

If you or a loved one struggles with drug and/or alcohol misuse or addiction, schedule a complimentary pre-admission screening at Pura Vida Recovery Services in Santa Rosa. Our helpful and non-judgmental intake coordinators can assess your needs and develop a treatment plan designed for you or loved one.

At Pura Vida, we adopt a multi-disciplinary, evidence-based approach to drug and alcohol treatment and can diagnose and treat co-occurring disorders, such as depression and anxiety. We believe our holistic approach to addiction treatment can help individuals suffering from addiction rediscover a life of joy.