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Substance Abuse Evaluation

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Addiction will impact a person’s life in nearly every way, from top to bottom. If you or a loved one have decided to get help, you’ll have to undergo a substance abuse evaluation.

What is a substance abuse evaluation?

A substance abuse evaluation is a comprehensive strategy used to design an effective treatment plan for those struggling with addiction. These evaluations are a key part of entering a treatment program and are typically performed by the facility’s treatment team or other trained professionals. The evaluation aims to determine the extent and severity of your abuse, along with any other mental health conditions you may be living with.

The first step in receiving treatment is completing a substance abuse evaluation by a licensed addiction specialist within the treatment program. The information that health care providers can discover in a drug and alcohol evaluation can be highly beneficial in addiction treatment and to inform the most appropriate aftercare.

The goal(s) of a substance abuse evaluation is to:

  • Determine if you have an addiction
  • Determine or assess the level or degree of addiction
  • Assess if there may be co-occurring conditions, like mental disorders or physical concerns
  • Determine and discuss how substance abuse has impacted your life
  • Develop a substance abuse treatment plan that is designed for your specific needs
  • Determine if the assistance of an inpatient or outpatient treatment program is needed

Substance abuse evaluations typically contain two parts; a screening and an assessment. The screening tool simply determines whether or not the patient is living with addiction. The assessment works to discover the diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, and set goals for recovery.

In substance abuse evaluations, the addiction severity index is used to determine the extent of a substance abuse disorder. ASI severity ratings focus on 7 key areas to gauge the severity of abuse and to help determine the best substance abuse treatment for recovery.

A substance abuse evaluation is usually done by a social worker, therapist, counselor, or doctor that is qualified to determine and assess addiction. It is a positive step forward in treating drug use or alcohol addiction.

What kind of questions do they ask in a substance abuse evaluation?

Many of the questions asked in a drug and alcohol evaluation are strategic in determining if you have a substance use disorder and will ultimately factor into what type of substance abuse treatment a person needs. These will include information about your past substance abuse, your current situation

You should expect questions and conversations around the following topics:

  • The history of your substance abuse
  • The regularity of your alcohol or drug use
  • How substance abuse affects your behavior
  • Current physical health and any medical issues
  • Your medical history
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Your current mental health

When participating in a substance abuse evaluation, your honesty is absolutely essential to a successful recovery through treatment. While it’s normal to feel embarrassed or ashamed by what you have to do, know that you are not alone and many people have been in your shoes.

Hiding any facts or truth may make it more difficult to receive a diagnosis; so be sure you are telling the truth and not holding anything back.

How do you diagnose someone with substance use disorder?

Diagnosing a substance use disorder requires an in-depth evaluation that is typically done by a licensed psychiatrist, therapist, psychologist, or drug counselor.

Most professionals use 11 different criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association. The criteria are based on decades of research into alcohol and drug abuse and addiction.

Traditionally, two or three consistent symptoms indicate a mild substance use disorder, while six or more symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder.

Substance use disorders occur when the regular use of drugs and alcohol impairs a person’s daily life, causes health problems and disabilities, and prevents an individual from completing their work, home, school, or personal responsibilities.

In order to be diagnosed, there must be evidence of impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria.

What type of drug screening is most commonly used?

A few types of drug screening tools are commonly used in a drug and alcohol assessment to determine the substances being used by an individual.

Urine drug screening: Urine tests are cheap, samples are easy to collect and results are quick. These tests can detect alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, methadone, nicotine, and more.

Hair drug screening: Hair screenings can reveal drugs that were taken months prior (up to 90 days), and are very accurate. They are a more expensive option than urine tests, but many opt for these tests because of their reliability and extensive results. Hair tests can detect marijuana, cocaine, opioids, and more.

Saliva drug screening: Saliva screenings only test for a few basic drugs taken within the last few hours and are very cheap to administer.

Blood drug screening: Blood tests can reveal what drugs were taken months prior, but these tests are more expensive. Blood testing is more complicated to collect and is typically only used in specific scenarios when court-ordered drug and alcohol evaluations require it.

What factors influence substance use and abuse?

There are quite a few risk factors that can influence substance use and abuse. These include:

Genetics and family history

If you have family members who have struggled with alcohol or drug abuse, you may be at a higher risk for addiction as well. Addiction can be passed down from parent to child, and the way your body processes alcohol and substances also plays a role in the development of an addiction.

Environmental factors

Environmental risk factors include family life and the environment in a home. If a person grows up in an abusive or violent home, addiction can be more prevalent if the individual turns to drugs and alcohol to cope.

Other factors including social circles and friend groups can also influence substance use. Having friends who experiment with a recreational drug or alcohol can increase a person’s chances of doing the same and developing an addiction during the impressionable teen years.

Mental health risk factors

Mental illness has a significant influence on the risk factors for developing a substance use disorder. Those who struggle with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at a higher risk of developing an addiction because they often use substances to cope with the symptoms of their mental health disorders.

When does casual drug use turn into substance abuse?

What often starts as recreational drug use can, unfortunately, turn into substance abuse fairly quickly. Depending on a person’s risk factors and the volume and frequency of the drug or alcohol use.

Many individuals start using substances to relax and enjoy themselves in social situations. What may start as harmless can lead to problems and risky behavior including violence, crime, accidents, and overdose.

As recreational use becomes a regular habit or part of a daily routine, this is when casual drug use can turn into substance abuse. The more often drugs or alcohol are consumed, the more an individual will crave them and need them to feel relaxed, happy, and in control.

Drug dependency can happen slowly, but there’s no denying that it does not discriminate against race, gender, or age group. Those who are more susceptible to addiction and substance use disorders should be aware of the signs of dependency on drugs and alcohol. These can include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Irritation and mood changes
  • Body shakes, sweating, and trembling
  • Cramps and headaches

Get the care you need for substance abuse today. Clear Behavioral Health is here to help.

At Clear Behavioral Health, we work closely with our clients to help them address underlying issues with substance abuse to foster long-term recovery. We offer inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation and outpatient treatment programs for those struggling with addiction and seeking recovery from alcohol or drug use.

Clear Behavioral Health understands that no single substance abuse treatment approach is appropriate for everyone. We offer a variety of mental health and addiction treatment services and modalities to address the individual needs, preferences, and goals of our clients.

Substance abuse evaluation

Substance abuse can impact a person’s life in nearly every way.

A key part of entering a treatment program is completing a substance abuse evaluation by the facility’s treatment team or other trained professionals.

What is a substance abuse evaluation?

A substance abuse evaluation is a comprehensive strategy used to design an effective treatment plan for those struggling with addiction. The evaluation aims to determine the extent and severity of your abuse, along with any other mental health conditions you may be living with.

The first step in receiving treatment is completing a substance abuse evaluation by a licensed addiction specialist within the treatment program. The information that health care providers can discover in a drug and alcohol evaluation can be highly beneficial in addiction treatment and inform the most appropriate aftercare.

The goal(s) of a substance abuse evaluation is to:

  • Determine if you have an addiction
  • Determine or assess the level or degree of addiction
  • Assess if there may be co-occurring conditions, like mental disorders or physical concerns
  • Determine and discuss how substance abuse has impacted your life
  • Develop a substance abuse treatment plan that is designed for your specific needs
  • Determine if the assistance of an inpatient or outpatient treatment program is needed

Substance abuse evaluations typically contain two parts; a screening and an assessment. The screening tool simply determines whether or not the patient is living with addiction. The assessment works to discover the diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, and set goals for recovery.

In substance abuse evaluations, the addiction severity index is used to determine the extent of a substance abuse disorder. ASI severity ratings focus on 7 key areas to gauge the severity of abuse and to help determine the best substance abuse treatment for recovery.

A substance abuse evaluation is usually done by a social worker, therapist, counselor, or doctor that is qualified to determine and assess addiction. It is a positive step forward in treating drug use or alcohol addiction.

What kind of questions do they ask in a substance abuse evaluation?

Many of the questions asked in a drug and alcohol evaluation are strategic in determining if you have a substance use disorder and will ultimately factor into what type of substance abuse treatment a person needs. These will include information about your past substance abuse, your current situation

You should expect questions and conversations around the following topics:

  • The history of your substance abuse
  • The regularity of your alcohol or drug use
  • How substance abuse affects your behavior
  • Current physical health and any medical issues
  • Your medical history
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Your current mental health

When participating in a substance abuse evaluation, your honesty is absolutely essential to a successful recovery through treatment. While it’s normal to feel embarrassed or ashamed by what you have to do, know that you are not alone and many people have been in your shoes.

Hiding any facts or truth may make it more difficult to receive a diagnosis; so be sure you are telling the truth and not holding anything back.

How do you diagnose someone with substance use disorder?

Diagnosing a substance use disorder requires an in-depth evaluation that is typically done by a licensed psychiatrist, therapist, psychologist, or drug counselor.

Most professionals use 11 different criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association. The criteria are based on decades of research into alcohol and drug abuse and addiction.

Traditionally, two or three consistent symptoms indicate a mild substance use disorder, while six or more symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder.

Substance use disorders occur when the regular use of drugs and alcohol impairs a person’s daily life, causes health problems and disabilities, and prevents an individual from completing their work, home, school, or personal responsibilities.

In order to be diagnosed, there must be evidence of impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria.

What type of drug screening is most commonly used?

A few types of drug screening tools are commonly used in a drug and alcohol assessment to determine the substances being used by an individual.

Urine drug screening: Urine tests are cheap, samples are easy to collect and results are quick. These tests can detect alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, methadone, nicotine, and more.

Hair drug screening: Hair screenings can reveal drugs that were taken months prior (up to 90 days), and are very accurate. They are a more expensive option than urine tests, but many opt for these tests because of their reliability and extensive results. Hair tests can detect marijuana, cocaine, opioids, and more.

Saliva drug screening: Saliva screenings only test for a few basic drugs taken within the last few hours and are very cheap to administer.

Blood drug screening: Blood tests can reveal what drugs were taken months prior, but these tests are more expensive. Blood testing is more complicated to collect and is typically only used in specific scenarios when court-ordered drug and alcohol evaluations require it.

What factors influence substance use and abuse?

There are quite a few risk factors that can influence substance use and abuse. These include:

Genetics and family history

If you have family members who have struggled with alcohol or drug abuse, you may be at a higher risk for addiction as well. Addiction can be passed down from parent to child, and the way your body processes alcohol and substances also plays a role in the development of an addiction.

Environmental factors

Environmental risk factors include family life and the environment in a home. If a person grows up in an abusive or violent home, addiction can be more prevalent if the individual turns to drugs and alcohol to cope.

Other factors including social circles and friend groups can also influence substance use. Having friends who experiment with a recreational drug or alcohol can increase a person’s chances of doing the same and developing an addiction during the impressionable teen years.

Mental health risk factors

Mental illness has a significant influence on the risk factors for developing a substance use disorder. Those who struggle with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at a higher risk of developing an addiction because they often use substances to cope with the symptoms of their mental health disorders.

When does casual drug use turn into substance abuse?

What often starts as recreational drug use can, unfortunately, turn into substance abuse fairly quickly. Depending on a person’s risk factors and the volume and frequency of the drug or alcohol use.

Many individuals start using substances to relax and enjoy themselves in social situations. What may start as harmless can lead to problems and risky behavior including violence, crime, accidents, and overdose.

As recreational use becomes a regular habit or part of a daily routine, this is when casual drug use can turn into substance abuse. The more often drugs or alcohol are consumed, the more an individual will crave them and need them to feel relaxed, happy, and in control.

Drug dependency can happen slowly, but it does not discriminate against race, gender, or age group. Those who are more susceptible to addiction and substance use disorders should be aware of the signs of dependency on drugs and alcohol. These can include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Irritation and mood changes
  • Body shakes, sweating, and trembling
  • Cramps and headaches

Get the care you need for substance abuse today. Clear Behavioral Health is here to help.

At Clear Behavioral Health, we work closely with our clients to help them address underlying issues with substance abuse to foster long-term recovery. We offer inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation and outpatient treatment programs for those struggling with addiction and seeking recovery from alcohol or drug use.

Clear Behavioral Health understands that no single substance abuse treatment approach is appropriate for everyone. We offer a variety of mental health and addiction treatment services and modalities to address the individual needs, preferences, and goals of our clients.

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