Diagnosing substance use disorders and addiction can be both difficult and easy. For some the signs and symptoms say it all and for others the signs and symptoms are internal. To medically answer the question how is addiction diagnosed we look to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to see which characteristics apply to each individual. Families however may already know their loved on is addicted to a substance by the changes in their behavior and dedication to their drug of choice. However, diagnosing addiction is still best done by professionals with experience because the diagnosis can play a large role in finding the correct treatment program. Some individuals may suffer from co-existing disorders which require more specialized treatment and others may be at a point where their addiction requires intensive inpatient treatment versus outpatient counseling.
The various standards for addiction and substance abuse diagnosis can provide more in depth information about the individuals personal struggles and therefor providing a more detailed understanding of what treatments are needed. Speaking with individuals who have experienced evaluations and diagnosis can give you a better idea of the importance. According to an article from the medical journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, “Efficient, organization assessment of substance use disorders is essential for clinical research, treatment planning, and referral to attributive services.” In this article you will find both the formal and informal assessment structures as well as information on what to ask addiction treatment professionals regarding how they determine the best instruments suited for an individuals particular situation and intentions.
Efficient substance abuse assessments are completed by experienced medical professionals using one or a combination of assessment instruments. Determining the appropriate assessment tools for a substance use disorder depends on individual needs and past history. Interviews provide sufficient information and are reliable for determining specific information. When planning for treatment and deciding which treatment program will best assist the individual with grasping recovery steps, patients interviews are compared to other structured answers and compared to determine what worked for patients in similar situations and what did not. answers can be compared to research to provide them with information about what patients in similar situations. More specifically, the interviews can provide clinicians with a general idea of what services the patient may need to excel in treatment. Carefully, assessing patients and using instruments correctly is of the most importance to avoid missing something in an evaluation such as mental illness indications or mistakenly classifying a patients health.
The six most commonly used addiction assessment instruments include:
Two of the preferred methods of diagnosis include, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders (SCID).
The CIDI approach, a World Mental Health proposed method, takes many factors into account including the clinical severity, the frequency, and influences such as depression. The interview begins with a series of health questions followed by diagnostic stem questions based on the findings in the survey done prior to the start of the diagnosis.
The SCID approach uses a sequence on enquires to help better understand the person’s mental state of health. It uses open-ended questions performed by a professional who is able to use their knowledge and experience to diagnose the patient. Modules such as mood episodes, mood disorders and anxiety disorders may be omitted so that the interview can be customized based on what is necessary.
Substance dependence is said to occur when there are three or more of the following symptoms of addiction happening within a year:
• Tolerance – Increasing the amount of substance intake is required in order to achieve the same effect.
• Withdrawal symptoms – Several withdrawal symptoms associated with the particular substance dependence will occur.
• Extended use – Large quantities of the substance is taken over a long period of time.
• Difficulty stopping – Failed attempts to stop using and a persistent desire to stop using is present.
• Time allocation – There are large amounts of time dedicated to obtaining drugs or alcohol and in recovery for the substance.
• Neglect of important areas – Social, occupation and recreational activities become less important and therefore, less time is spent on such activities.
• Use in spite of consequences – Even though the person knows that the abuse of the substance is causing problems in their life, they continue to use.
Addiction develops as the brain changes and becomes dependent on the substance of abuse. Physical and mental changes in an individual may become more apparent as they become physically and mental dependent on the substance. Apart from the mentioned signs above, indications of an addiction can differ on an individual basis. The term functioning alcoholic is an example of someone who may not display the same signs of addiction as most people because of their ability to hide them however, at home their family may be very well aware. A doctor may also be able to diagnosis the addiction by noticing liver damage, high blood pressure, blotchy skin, weight gain or loss, and dental deterioration.
The symptoms of addiction can vary by the substance of abuse. For more information on specific signs of addiction click here.
Additionally, it is common for an addict to have financial difficulties since most, if not all, of their funds go towards buying drugs or alcohol. Drug seeking behavior may cause a person to become involved in criminal activities in order to acquire enough money to sustain their habit. This can lead to the person being arrested, among other things.
Speak to a professional if you are worried your loved one may be trapped in the cycle of addiction, if you already know your loved one is using and have struggled with getting them help speaking to an addiction recovery specialist can give you some ideas for holding an intervention, finding therapy for your family, and taking the appropriate steps to help your loved on as best you can. Family Addiction effects not only the user but everyone around them. Help is available to help restore your family and show you the ways to rebuild.
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