Addiction Assessment

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Addiction Assessment

Addiction recovery is a highly individualized process. In order for treatment to be as effective as possible, the treatment plan must be customized to fit the personal needs and requirements of each individual client. Conducting an in-depth addiction assessment helps the clinical team determine which treatment services are going to be the most beneficial for each unique case while helping clients develop a thorough plan for continuing care. At Guardian Recovery we conduct a detailed assessment the moment a client is admitted to our program of recovery, which includes family history of substance abuse, a physical evaluation and a psychological evaluation.

It is important that clients are honest and forthcoming during the assessment process – being as open and detailed as possible allows for the most individualized and effective treatment plan. Clients sit down with a licensed therapist and a medical professional and go over personal history with substance abuse, the presence of any diagnosed or suspected mental illnesses and personal treatment goals. A therapeutic plan of action is developed before the client begins medical detox or individual and group therapy sessions.

Comprehensive & Individualized Addiction

During the initial Addiction Assessment our clients are asked a series of questions including:

  • How long have you been using your substance of choice?
  • Did you ever engage in polydrug abuse (using more than one chemical substance at any given time)?
  • Is there any history of substance abuse or dependence in your immediate family?
  • Is there any history of substance abuse in your extended family?
  • Is there any history of mental illness in your immediate or extended family?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness?
  • Are you currently taking any medications that were prescribed to you by a psychiatrist or a psychologist?
  • Are you currently suffering from chronic pain or any other physical ailment?
  • What do you hope to gain from your personal experience in addiction treatment?

These are only several examples – the full assessment is more detailed and comprehensive. The goal is to gain as much information as possible, shaping a treatment plan that caters to the unique needs of each of our clients and their loved ones.

The Addiction Assessment Process

The first question we ask during every initial Addiction Assessment is whether or not there are any chemical substances present in the system at the time. A drug test is administered to ensure that no unexpected withdrawal symptoms occur during medical detox or during the initial stage of the clinical treatment process. If a client is set up for treatment intake but he or she is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a short stay at a medical detox facility might be necessary to ensure physical stabilization. At Guardian Recovery we offer a flexible level of clinical care which can be continuously adjusted to meet the needs of the client. For example, if a client comes to us with a substance abuse disorder but it is discovered during the Addiction Assessment that he or she might simultaneously suffer from depression, we will place this client in our Dual Diagnosis track. If we discover that a client has been suffering from chronic back pain, massage therapy, physical therapy and acupuncture will be added to his or her curriculum.

Over the course of the multi-phased treatment process additional evaluations and assessments are conducted to ensure that each client is meeting his or her personal treatment goals and that all individualized needs are being adequately met.

Medical Testing

Upon admission to one of Guardian Recovery’s levels of clinical care, clients undergo in-depth medical testing geared towards identifying any underlying or pre-existing medical conditions. In many cases, men and women who suffer from substance abuse and dependence simultaneously suffer from chronic pain, a chronic illness like cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease or persistent physical symptoms associated with post-acute withdrawal. Medical testing allows for more focused care and helps the clinical identify which methods of medical intervention will be the most effective. For example, a client who has been suffering from insomnia, chronic constipation, headaches and other symptoms of post-acute opiate withdrawal might be a good candidate for Medication Assisted Treatment – medical testing helps the clinical team make this decision.

As soon as a client is admitted to any level of clinical care, he or she undergoes a drug test. Drug tests are conducted throughout the remainder of the treatment process in order to keep clients accountable, usually at least once every two weeks. If a client had been engaging in intravenous drug use prior to seeking treatment, he or she will likely be tested for potential health problems relating to this method of drug use, like Hepatitis C and HIV. It is crucial that all underlying health problems are identified so that they can be adequately treated.

Mental Health & Psychological Evaluation

Evaluating mental health and the presence of any underlying mental illnesses is crucial to the Addiction Assessment process. Research shows that roughly one-third of all men and women who seek substance abuse treatment also suffer from a mental illness like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. If a client is suffering from an undiagnosed or untreated mental health condition, he or she is a good candidate for dual diagnosis treatment. During the Mental Health Assessment, clients are asked a series of pertinent questions by an on-staff psychiatrist, who determines whether or not symptoms of depression and/or anxiety are a result of drug or alcohol withdrawal or if they stem from an underlying, co-occurring disorder. A combination of medication and focused therapy is prescribed and ongoing psychiatric evaluation is added to the individualized treatment plan.

Family History of Substance Abuse

Because addiction is a genetic disease, exploring family history is extremely important. In addition to finding out whether or not a client has significant genetic predisposition, we uncover any dysfunction present within the family and develop a therapeutic plan of action. Most of our clients come from families that have been heavily impacted by their substance abuse disorders. In order for sobriety to be maintained long-term, it is important for the family unit to heal as a whole.

At Guardian Recovery we believe that the family should be heavily involved in the treatment process from start to finish. For this reason we offer family therapy sessions as well as a three-day intensive Family Workshop. During the Workshop (which was developed by our team of licensed therapeutic professionals), the loved ones of our clients have the opportunity to explore their own mental and emotional issues more in depth, as they learn how to support their loved one and help facilitate his or her recovery.

Guardian Recovery
Highly Individualized Clinical Care

At Guardian Recovery’s addiction treatment centers you will consistently find the most effective and integrated clinical care available, provided by a team of dedicated professionals with combined decades of experience in the fields of substance abuse and mental health. We are committed to providing the most individualized care possible from medical detox all the way through aftercare. We understand that because addiction is not a one-size-fits-all disease, approaches to addiction recovery must be custom-tailored in order to be truly effective. Addiction Assessments allow for a more focused and personalized treatment experience. To learn more about Guardian Recovery or to begin your own personal journey of healing contact us today.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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