Simply stated, an alcohol evaluation is an assessment to determine if your alcohol use is a problem, and if so, what kind of help would be beneficial. If it is concluded that an addiction is present, it is necessary to understand the extent of the addiction, if there are co-occurring conditions that need to be addressed, and to then develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Who seeks an alcohol evaluation?
Those concerned they have a serious problem with alcohol. (See link article on how to self-test)
Those who have peers, employers, or loved ones encouraging them to get help.
Those who have been court-ordered as a result of a drug or alcohol related arrest.
If you are considering or have been referred for an Alcohol Evaluation, you may be wondering what it consists of?
The comprehensive evaluation generally lasts between one and two hours, and is usually conducted in a private setting by professionals that are trained to diagnose addictions. The list of those authorized to facilitate the assessment includes doctors, nurses, counselors, psychologists, therapists, and social workers. The purpose of the meeting is to gather information and weigh the impact of alcohol on your life. The doctor or clinician will typically ask you to fill out a standardized questionnaire about your current use of alcohol, any history of treatment, possible symptoms of alcohol abuse, and the affects alcohol use has played on your behavior. The clinician will also hold a face-to-face interview with you to solicit standard, open-ended questions in the areas listed below in order to assist him/her in making a diagnosis:
• Family background
• Social history
• Employment history
• Medical history
• Mental Health and substance use history
Besides the information collected from you, the clinician my also contact family members and loved ones to pull together any other relevant details in order to accurately assess the nature and extent of the problem. He or she may decide to conduct a physical exam and lab work, such as a urine analysis to test the presence of alcohol, or any other illicit drugs.
Upon completion, the results of the evaluation are reviewed in order to make a proper diagnosis and finalize the individualized recommendation.
What are some of the possible recommendations?
No treatment, if no issues are deemed present
Alcohol education classes
Outpatient chemical dependency treatment program
Inpatient/Residential chemical dependency treatment program
Couples or family counseling sessions
If you sought an Alcohol Evaluation on your own or at the urging of loved ones, the recommendation you receive will provide you your next course of action. The trained professionals who conduct the assessment will guide you to those who will be able to help you; then, it will be up to you to decide to follow their advice. There are a multitude of resources you can access for education, awareness, recovery support, and treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help.
Alternatively, if your alcohol assessment was court-ordered due to an arrest, such as a D.U.I, or D.W.I., the results will be submitted to the designated legal official, and the recommendation may be mandatory. (See article on court-ordered drug and alcohol evaluations). Your attorney will advise you on the process in order to follow the legal requirements and remain compliant. The end goal of the evaluation is to provide clarity on your relationship with alcohol, find sources of support, and treatment when necessary.