Before any type of treatment can begin, a diagnosis must be made. This is the case for conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, and it is also true for substance use disorders. If a person takes a self-survey and determines that their drug use is out of control, they should then speak with professionals to arrange a clinical assessment for addiction.
Clinical Assessment for Addiction Explained
Key differences exist between screenings and assessments. Many physicians or employers screen individuals for substance use. Typically, this is a yes or no outcome: are they on these specific drugs, or not? Clinical assessment is more complex. This in-depth process involves the gathering of information to form a complete picture of someone’s drug or alcohol problem over time. Through this evaluation, experts are able to define the nature of the problem, determine a diagnosis, and create a treatment plan specific to each person’s individual needs.
In addition to learning which substances a person is using, addiction specialists must seek several more pieces of information to complete an assessment. These include…
- Substance use history
- A complete list of symptoms
- Whether a person is experiencing cravings or withdrawals
- How drug and alcohol use impact daily functioning
- Amounts of each substance being consumed
- Frequency of substance use
- Factors of influence (background – family history, socioeconomic status, past trauma, etc.)
- Health screenings (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, STDs)
- Whether the client has a co-occurring mental illness
What to Expect
At Lakeside-Milam, our clinical assessment for addiction lasts for about an hour. Over the course of this time, we utilize several approaches in order to create a detailed inventory of the type, frequency, amount, and consequences of one’s substance use. We also make note of any co-occurring psychiatric disorders, pertinent items from their medical history, and social factors that have contributed to substance use.
Through this evaluation, participants learn whether they should seek treatment for a substance use disorder, and if so, what that treatment plan should involve. Like any health evaluation, the information gathered throughout an assessment is completely confidential; Lakeside-Milam will release no information to any person or provider without express written consent.
When Should I Get Help?
When a person participates in a clinical assessment, they will receive their results immediately afterwards. If their clinician has diagnosed them with a substance use disorder, it is imperative to act quickly. Many people falsely believe that those addicted to drugs or alcohol must hit “rock bottom” in order to begin their recovery. This is a myth. Research has shown time and time again that the sooner a person begins treatment, the more likely they are to achieve sustained sobriety. Therefore, once the results of a clinical assessment for addiction reveal that treatment is needed, arrangements should be made to begin an appropriate recovery program.
Taking the Next Step
Another benefit of clinical assessment is that addiction specialists are able to determine which level of care is most effective for each person, based on the severity of their problem. This means that many of the questions surrounding addiction treatment are taken care of; for example, the decision between inpatient and outpatient care can now be informed by a clinician’s recommendation. By participating in clinical addiction assessment, each person receives a customized treatment plan informed by their substance use history, home life, and physical health.
Treatment may involve withdrawal management, residential care, outpatient programming, and long-term recovery services. These approaches should all be evidence-based, which means that they are rooted in best practices and scientific research. They should also address any mental health concerns that may have contributed to a person’s substance use. After treatment has concluded, each person should be armed with an action recovery plan: a blueprint for successful living that eases the transition back to the “real world.” With appropriate guidance and support, anyone can overcome addiction.
Clinical Assessment for Addiction | Proven Treatment
Lakeside-Milam provides comprehensive clinical assessment and treatment services for those suffering from the disease of addiction. If you are worried about your substance use (or that of a loved one), we encourage you to contact us today. We will put you in touch with our clinical team and schedule a time for your assessment. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today.