What Is an Addiction Assessment?

An addiction assessment is the first step on the journey to long-term recovery from a substance use disorder. When entering an addiction treatment center, clients will need to be carefully evaluated before a treatment plan can be created and therapy can begin.

During an addiction assessment, it’s vital that clients are as forthcoming as possible about the nature of their addiction, as well as any mental and physical symptoms they might be suffering from. An addiction treatment center is not a place for judgment; it’s a caring place that delivers healthcare with compassion. Addiction specialists will ask a variety of questions, and the answers that clients provide will help form their treatment regimen.

Addiction Assessment Process

During the initial stage of an addiction assessment, sufferers will be asked if they are currently under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.1 They will be asked what substances they’ve taken recently and in the past. Medical caregivers will need to understand the quantity and frequency of substance use that the client is accustomed to. Knowing the answers to these types of questions allows addiction specialists to form a customized treatment plan to help sufferers on their recovery path.

The addiction assessment interview may seem long and detailed, but all questions are associated with your treatment plan. For instance, if you’ve answered that you’ve shared needles or engaged in unprotected sex, healthcare providers will know to screen you for any potential health problems associated with these behaviors so they can be treated if necessary.

Medical Tests

During the addiction assessment process, clients will be asked to provide a sample of their urine and blood for testing. The results of these tests will help addiction specialists craft your treatment plan. Of course, depending on the nature of your physical health, you may be asked to take other medical tests that could impact your treatment plan.

Clients should remember that addiction is a disease, and while these tests can feel obtrusive, they are designed to identify health problems so they can be effectively treated.

Mental Health Evaluation

Evaluating mental health is a vital part of the addiction assessment process, because one-third of addiction sufferers—and possibly more, according to experts—have an accompanying mental health disorder. When addiction occurs with a mental illness, it’s referred to as a dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders. Dual diagnosis requires simultaneous treatment for all disorders, so it’s important that addiction specialists and therapists understand the type of mood or mental disorder the individual is suffering from so that medications and other therapies can be prescribed. Additionally, sufferers may be experiencing some withdrawal symptoms in the form of depression or anxiety that healthcare providers need to know about when crafting a treatment plan.

Addiction Assessment

The addiction assessment process may initially feel burdensome, but it’s utterly necessary in order to gain an accurate understanding of each person’s mental and physical health.2 The results of your addiction assessment will enable specialists to develop a treatment plan. With effective treatment, addiction can be successfully managed.

If you are suffering with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, take the first step on your recovery journey and schedule an addiction assessment at a treatment center now.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64165/
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment