A comprehensive substance abuse evaluation provides the most accurate assessment of your health and issues that may be related to substance abuse. The evaluation is generally conducted by a professional mental health counselor or another clinical assessment team. The purpose of the assessment is to obtain important information about you that will help in designing an effective treatment plan for you. The results of the assessment are shared with the patient and family. Treatment centers use standardized testing to measure the severity and frequency of the symptoms and behaviors associated with substance abuse.
A specific substance abuse evaluation for patients reveals the existence or potential presence of any of the following symptoms: compulsive behavior, tolerance, disinterest or futility, anger, anxiety, mood disturbance, memory problems, insomnia, mood swings, paranoia, compulsions, and impulsiveness. Additionally, the assessment will measure any other possible comorbid conditions, such as any existing medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, hepatitis, etc. ), depression, alcohol or drug dependencies, and other social conditions. The screening can also determine if the patient has a substance abuse problem in itself (e.g., has used drugs within the past year) or whether they are suffering from a disorder in addition to having a substance abuse problem.
To achieve success with substance abuse treatment, it is critical that health professionals accurately identify the presence and severity of a particular symptom or condition. This is particularly important when it comes to testing for alcohol, a substance that most people know about but which is still a highly misunderstood drug. Unfortunately, the stigma associated with drug use and alcoholism makes it very difficult for many individuals to admit to having a problem or to reach out for help.
Substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to recognize the symptoms of alcohol abuse and to provide information and referral services can make a huge difference in the success of a substance abuse treatment program. Many individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders are reluctant to seek treatment for several reasons, ranging from fear of being stigmatized to feeling ashamed of their condition or of being labeled as weak or addicted.
Substance abuse treatment professionals must also be skilled at communicating with co-occurring disorders to best meet the needs of the patient. One specific area of differentiation is related to depression, anxiety, bipolar, and schizophrenia. Substance abuse counselors must be able to identify co-occurring disorders when evaluating patients with these conditions.