Substance Abuse Evaluation: The Breakdown
First, let’s take a look at what exactly a substance abuse evaluation is. Substance abuse evaluations can be compared to the check-ups you used to get as a kid at the doctor’s office. Substance abuse evaluations give your treatment provider an idea of where you are with your addiction so that they can create a plan suited to your specific needs. This evaluation allows them to check if there’s even an addiction, to begin with, check for other conditions like mental health issues, and measure the extent of your drug use.
According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the evaluation consists of both screening and an assessment. The screening is a simple overview that helps recognize if there is or is not a problem. The assessment takes it a bit further by finding a diagnosis and then crafting an appropriate treatment plan. You will likely have to answer questions about your substance use, health history, and if you have ever been in treatment before. Health care professionals typically want to see how much drug or alcohol use has affected your everyday life, which is a key element of addiction.
Addiction is Tricky to Define
Knowing this may also benefit you to understand what addiction is. Addiction happens due to the drastic change drugs or alcohol have on your brain’s reward system. After continued use, your brain begins to prioritize the pleasure these substances provide at the costs of your overall wellbeing. Even when you want to stop, it may be challenging. This is why substance abuse evaluations are so important. You may face a substance abuse evaluation for a variety of reasons. Often this evaluation occurs in criminal justice settings, community-based programs, and other institutional settings.