Drug and Alcohol Addiction: Assessing and Evaluating
One of the beginning steps in treatment for substance abuse typically begins with an addiction assessment to evaluate the severity of the chemical dependency. The objective of the assessment helps to pinpoint if the addiction is present, how severe the addiction is, and if there are co-occurring conditions. The information gathered in the assessment helps in the development of a treatment plan.
A medical doctor will most likely be the one who conducts the assessment, but psychologists, counselors, social workers, and other non-medical persons can also perform drug and alcohol abuse assessments and then refer the individual to a doctor for a physical evaluation. Since co-occurring medical problems will impact how the addiction is treated, it is important to see a doctor for an examination as early as possible in the addiction assessment process.
The Johnson Institute of Minneapolis has one of the oldest and most time tested dependency evaluation tools—a series of questions—that evaluates chemical dependency, according to an article that was published in Step 12 Magazine. The following questions from The Johnson Institute help to shed insight on an individual’s drug/alcohol dependency.
-Has anyone ever suggested you quit or cut back on your drug/alcohol use? Y/N
-Has drinking or using affected your reputation? Y/N
-Have you made promises to control your drinking or using and then broken them? Y/N
-Have you ever switched to different drinks or drugs or changed your using pattern in an effort to control or reduce your consumption? Y/N
-Have you ever gotten into financial, legal, or relationship difficulties due to drinking or using? Y/N
-Have you ever lost time from work because of drinking or using? Y/N
-Have you ever sneaked or hidden your use? Y/N
-On occasion, do you feel uncomfortable if alcohol or your drug is not available? Y/N
-Do you continue drinking or using when friends or family suggest you have had enough? Y/N
-Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed about your drinking or using or what you did while under the influence? Y/N
-Has your efficiency decreased as a result of your drinking or using? Y/N
-When using or drinking, do you neglect to eat properly? Y/N
-Do you use or drink alone? Y/N
-Do you use or drink more than usual when under pressure, angry, or depressed? Y/N
-Are you able to drink or use more now without feeling it, compared to when you first started drinking/using? Y/N
-Have you lost interest in other activities or noticed a decrease in your ambition as a result of your drinking or using? Y/N
-Have you had the shakes or tremors following heavy drinking or using or not using for a period of time? Y/N
-Do you want to drink or use at a particular time each day? Y/N
-Do you go/on and off the wagon? Y/N
-Is drinking or using jeopardizing your job? Y/N
*3 or more “yes” answers suggest that you should more closely evaluate your drug and/or alcohol use.
If you notice the aforementioned symptoms/signs in you, or a loved one, addiction treatment is readily available. However, it’s important first to determine if in fact you, or a loved one, does have a chemical dependency, and if so, the severity of it, the symptoms present, if there are co-occurring issues along with the addiction, what the history of drinking/using is, and more. Once a diagnosis is determined, then a treatment professional can develop a treatment plan that is a ‘best fit’ plan. If you, or someone you love, wonder how you can get help with drug and/or alcohol addiction, contact Connections in Recovery Los Angeles (CiR). Having served more hundreds of clients and families since 2011, CiR is committed to finding the right treatment solution for each individual and family, no matter what the situation is.
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