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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Describe the screening and assessment process of substance use disorders

Describe the screening and assessment process of substance use disorders.
Compare and contrast two methods of assessment approaches and include some limitations and strengths of each.
Identify an assessment method that you would use with the case study of Marge and provide a rationale for the assessment models you selected.

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The screening and assessment process of substance use disorders typically involves several steps to determine the presence and severity of the disorder. These steps can vary depending on the setting and the specific tools or protocols used, but generally follow a similar pattern.

Screening: Screening is the initial step used to identify individuals who may be at risk for substance use disorders. It is a brief and efficient process that aims to identify potential problems. Screening tools often involve questionnaires or brief interviews that assess the frequency and quantity of substance use, related consequences, and patterns of use. Commonly used screening tools include the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST).

Assessment: Assessment is a more comprehensive process that follows a positive screening result and involves a more detailed evaluation of the individual’s substance use and related issues. It includes a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment, which considers factors such as the individual’s medical history, family history, psychiatric symptoms, and social functioning. The assessment may involve structured interviews, clinical interviews, and standardized assessment tools.

Now let’s compare and contrast two assessment approaches commonly used in the field:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) Criteria:

Strengths: The DSM criteria provide a standardized framework for diagnosing substance use disorders. It offers specific diagnostic criteria and thresholds for different levels of severity, allowing for consistency in diagnosis across different clinicians and settings. It provides a common language for communication among professionals.
Limitations: The DSM criteria rely on self-report and clinical judgment, which can introduce subjectivity and potential bias. It may not fully capture the complex and diverse nature of substance use disorders, as it primarily focuses on symptom count and severity rather than contextual factors or individual experiences.
Addiction Severity Index (ASI):

Strengths: The ASI is a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates multiple domains of an individual’s life affected by substance use, such as medical, employment, legal, and social functioning. It provides a detailed and holistic understanding of the individual’s overall functioning and identifies areas of need for treatment planning.
Limitations: The ASI requires a trained interviewer to administer and score, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. It relies on self-report, which may be influenced by memory recall or social desirability biases. The scoring system may not adequately capture the severity of certain domains, such as psychiatric symptoms.
For the case study of Marge, I would recommend using a combination of the DSM criteria and the ASI. The DSM criteria would help in determining the specific diagnosis and severity level of Marge’s substance use disorder, providing a standardized framework for communication and treatment planning. The ASI would be beneficial in assessing the impact of substance use on various areas of Marge’s life, such as her employment, legal status, and social relationships. This comprehensive assessment would provide a more holistic understanding of Marge’s situation and guide the development of an individualized treatment plan.

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