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Medical Evaluation

When pursuing treatment for a certain medical condition, whatever it is, you have to first undergo a thorough medical evaluation. Medical science calls for the proper evaluation of a medical problem before it can prescribe the right treatment. Sometimes people forget, but addiction is a disease and drug or alcohol treatment centers also require medical evaluation for their patients.

The Nature of Medical Evaluation

A medical evaluation is a thorough process of assessing and determining the cause of a medical problem, whether it is physiological or mental. The assessment becomes more complicated when it involves certain types of addiction, since many addictions imply that mental issues are also involved.

For instance, diagnosis for drug addiction treatment needs the assessment of not just a medical professional, but other mental health professionals as well. It may well involve the services of a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a general practitioner.

``Altitude sickness, unregulated drugs, and medical gas enabled workers to become drug abusers/addicts`` – Steven Magee

Some of the evaluations that will be conducted by these medical and mental health providers are the following:

  • Drug dependency or addiction

When you undergo drug or alcohol addiction treatment, the assessment process often takes place during your initial medical evaluation. Some of the procedures in this initial assessment may include:

  • Initial interview
  • Initial diagnoses
  • Medical tests, including laboratory tests

The Importance of Medical Evaluations

Problems routinely arise when making a plan without the benefit of all the information possible. Both the patient and the medical professional need to be a fully informed about the medical, psychological, and personal conditions of the case before devising an addiction treatment plan.

This is why a proper and thorough medical evaluation must be done to a patient before he is admitted to any kind of treatment program. And this cannot be over-emphasized when the patient’s problems include mental health treatment issues.

“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics are wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.” - Russell Brand

Steps in Diagnosing Addiction and Mental Health Problems

In possible cases of addiction and mental health problems, the following steps should be done in thoroughly assessing the extent of the problem.

  • Call a treatment center to get help in planning your addiction treatment program.
  • Visit a doctor or a general practitioner. This medical professional will evaluate the general health of the patient.  He will also perform tests to determine drug dependency.  This will include urine and blood tests.  He will also refer the patient to a psychiatrist or a psychologist if there are signs of drug addiction.  This professional will also be the one to track the progress of the patient after he undergoes mental health treatments.
  • Visit a psychologist or psychiatrist. The patient needs to see a mental health professional.  He will give a proper diagnosis of the patient’s mental health condition and recommend the right mode of treatment.  This doctor will start his evaluation by asking the patient what types of drugs or substances he is taking, their dosages, and the frequency of his intake.

Formal Assessment of the Patient’s Physical and Mental Health

Medical professionals use a variety of strategies to diagnose a patient’s drug dependency and its extent. They include:

  • Composite International Diagnostic Interview
  • Addiction severity index
  • Structured Clinical Interview
  • Psychiatric Research Interview for Substance and Mental Disorders
  • Alcohol Use Disorders and Associated Disabilities and Mental Disorders
  • Semi-Structured Assessment for Drug Dependence and Alcoholism

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