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What to Expect from a Substance Abuse Evaluation in Texas

An assessment to define the problem is often the first step to finding a solution. It makes sense, then, that a substance abuse evaluation should precede the formulation of a rehabilitation treatment plan for addiction. But what does this evaluation consist of, and where is the best place to have it done?

Understanding what this assessment entails and knowing where to access resources can be invaluable, especially when you or someone you love is struggling with addiction. In the state of Texas, treatment centers for addiction are governed by the office of Health and Human Services. What follows is a breakdown of some of the major considerations, including what you can expect from a substance abuse evaluation in Texas.

The Purpose of a Substance Abuse Assessment

The importance of a substance abuse evaluation cannot be overestimated. In fact, this critical assessment will help to determine the depth of your addiction and drive the development of your treatment plan. It will help to determine your appropriate entry point on the rehabilitation continuum of care. The evaluation will help to:

Determine the extent of your involvement with and dependence on a substance

Assessing the type of substances used as well as the severity of the addiction is key to mapping out a viable treatment plan. Is there a physical and/or emotional addiction? If withdrawal is likely, is detox stabilization required? Evaluating a person’s physical and emotional stability will help to assess the intensity of care required and determine the proper treatment course.

Recovery planning based on a qualified assessment will help to determine where your current needs best fit on the continuum of care. Detoxification with medically-assisted therapy and 24/7 monitoring may be needed to safely facilitate stabilization. Afterward, inpatient residential care may help you as you seek to restore balance to your life. A partial-hospitalization day treatment program provides structured, immersive care to empower individuals for the next steps on their recovery journey. Intensive outpatient programs offer more flexibility while helping to strengthen and support you for the journey ahead. Participation in aftercare programming builds in support for successful sobriety and longterm recovery.

Identify any co-occurring conditions or complicating factors

There is a high prevalence of substance abuse co-occurring with mental health disorders. The NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 1 in 4 people diagnosed with serious mental illness also has a substance use disorder. Setting up an effective treatment plan depends on looking at the big picture and getting an accurate assessment of a potential client’s condition. The identification of any complicating factors, including the use of multiple substances and the co-occurrence of significant physical or mental health disorders, is essential for the development of a treatment plan that improves the outlook for long-term success in recovery.

Map an appropriate treatment course

Each person’s substance abuse history and recovery journey must be as individualized as their genetic make-up and their personal environment. This requires a highly personalized treatment course. The careful assessment of the many important aspects of an individual’s life, including their living arrangements, family support system, and lifestyle factors, as well as their previous attempts at recovery, will influence the recommendations for appropriate therapies and supports.

Inform and qualify insurance coverage

Qualification of insurance coverage for inpatient care will largely depend on the detail in your substance abuse evaluation and whether your chosen facility meets the standards of care in Texas. When the assessment is conducted by a qualified professional with attention to the necessary details, the approval process may be expedited. A thorough substance abuse assessment will help to determine the level and intensity of services required by providing your insurance company with all the essential information needed to make a valid coverage determination.

Who Is Conducting Substance Abuse Evaluations in Texas?

Most state-funded and private facilities are equipped to conduct a substance abuse evaluation in Texas. What may differ is the qualifications of the person performing the assessment. Unfortunately, many treatment centers position marketers as the first point of contact with potential clients. The marketing staff may recruit and screen individuals with substance use disorders before handing them off to admissions staff. And while assessment by a qualified medical professional, doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant is essential for the development of a valid treatment plan, this important step may be delayed in that scenario.

Look for a treatment center that follows the guidelines of the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) and/or the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). These organizations train and provide accreditation for physicians and set the professional standards for addiction medicine. Ensure that the treatment center you select involves a medical professional or their proxy early on in the admissions process.

In Texas, after the initial screening, a biopsychosocial assessment that takes a more holistic view must be completed within 72 hours. The information gained from a biopsychosocial assessment consists of six dimensions that increase the capacity of professionals from various disciplines to support and meet clients’ needs.

The six dimensions of a biopsychosocial assessment are:

This additional assessment provides an in-depth look at the clients’ biological, psychological, and social factors and sets the course for the involvement of a cohesive team of professionals in their therapy and care.

A Word About Court-Ordered Evaluations

The assessment conducted by a medical rehabilitation professional to determine treatment priorities should not be confused with a court-ordered substance abuse evaluation that is ordered when someone has been arrested and charged with a crime. Though the process is somewhat similar, the outcome is very different.

In the case of a court-ordered evaluation, the evaluation is conducted by a state-certified agency examiner, and the subject of the evaluation is generally obligated to cover the cost of the evaluation. The results are conveyed to the court with recommendations for treatment that may include education, counseling, risk reduction, and meeting attendance. There may also be a requirement for random drug or alcohol testing.

Are You Ready to Get the Ball Rolling?

It’s time to reach out to a qualified treatment center. Ask to speak with a medical professional who can give you sound advice based on your unique situation.  Be honest with your answers to their questions, and be sure to ask your own questions. Whether you are apprehensive about taking this step or resolute in your resolve to put an end to your addiction, a substance abuse evaluation may be the first step to real and meaningful change in your life.

If you are looking for a substance abuse evaluation in Texas, contact the admissions staff at New Choices Treatment Centers. Located in the heart of San Antonio, we offer a full continuum of residential and outpatient rehabilitation services and follow ASAM and ABAM guidelines. Contact us online or by phone at (726) 888-7003 if you are ready to make a change in your life and want the benefit of a customized treatment plan administered by compassionate addiction medicine professionals.

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