What Is in a Substance Abuse Assessment?

Substance Abuse Assessment

If you want to enter a treatment facility for your substance use disorder, you will first undergo a substance abuse assessment. This allows the providers at the facility to better understand your condition, needs, and history.

This assessment will determine if you or a loved one has a substance use disorder. Many individuals in our society use alcohol and recreational drugs, but that doesn’t always mean they have a substance use disorder.

Sometimes the lines are blurred on whether or not someone might be abusing a substance. This assessment allows for health professionals to determine the level of use.

There is no need to prepare for this assessment. The best thing you can do is tell the truth and remain open with the clinician to create a treatment plan. Keep reading to learn more about substance abuse assessments and what to expect from them.

What Is a Substance Abuse Assessment?

A substance abuse assessment is a face-to-face meeting between an individual and an addiction care professional. This meeting is usually about an hour long and goes over various questions to learn more about that specific person’s relationship to substances.

It’s important for the healthcare provider to understand the patient’s family, social, occupational, legal, medical and mental health history, and substance use patterns. Past behaviors, such as driving under the influence or DUI and opioid abuse, should be shared to help form a more complete picture of your struggles — and help develop the best course of treatment.

The assessment session can better determine what level of substance misuse you are struggling with and to figure out the right treatment options to fit your needs. Depending on your needs and your schedule, you may be offered outpatient services over an inpatient stay, or a detox followed by weeks of inpatient care.

Your substance abuse story and your daily life will help professionals plot out the best course of action. The substance abuse assessment helps to place you exactly where you need to be so you can rise above your alcohol abuse.

What To Expect During a Substance Abuse Assessment

Substance abuse assessments are usually broken into two sections: the initial screening test and the actual assessment. As mentioned above, not everyone who uses substances has an addiction.

The first step in the substance abuse assessment process is to determine if there is an actual problem.

The Screening Process

The screening process allows whoever is administering the assessment to say: yes, this person has a substance abuse problem, or, no, this person does not misuse substances. This first step in the process allows for preemptive care.

During this time, the administrator might notice that the patient is seriously struggling and is open to receiving help. The substance use assessment is an important tool to getting relevant answers.

Different assessment tools that are used in this process include:

  1. CAGE Substance Abuse Screening Tool: This tool was initially created to better understand an individual’s alcohol use, but it can be adapted to drug abuse as well. The only issue with this is that if someone is trying to hide their substance use issues, these questions might not fully showcase the extent of the problem. It asks four questions:
    1. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking or drug use?
    2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking or drug use?
    3. Have you felt guilty about your drinking or drug use?
    4. Have you ever had a drink or used drugs first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
  2. Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI): A tool that helps determine whether substance use extends beyond social use into more serious levels. This tool also helps to determine how willing someone is to get help and how much they understand about their substance use.
  3. Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI): This tool is self-administered and can be used to track how much alcohol you are consuming. It asks you questions about your use, how frequently you use, at what points in the day you turn to alcohol, and if it’s affected your family members or friends.

Once you’ve undergone the screening process, you will either continue with the assessment to gain a more in-depth understanding or discuss substance abuse prevention strategies to avoid falling deeper into addiction.

The Assessment

If it’s been determined that you have a substance use disorder, the next step is a more in-depth assessment. During the assessment, your counselor is looking for direct evidence to back up their claims in order to help get a diagnosis.

The questions from the screening test will be asked again but in more depth. This will help you get a better understanding of your history and needs.

Some of the tools that are used during the assessment are:

  • Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV (DIS-IV): This is a structured questionnaire that helps to determine if there is a diagnosis for substance use disorder the way that it’s defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The first step is usually an exact diagnosis to understand treatment programs better. Almost anyone can administer this test as you simply have to follow along with the questions, but it might not be as in-depth.
  • Addiction Severity Index (ASI): This tool is a semi-structured questionnaire that asks more personal questions about your substance use over the course of your lifetime. This is often more in-depth and asks detailed questions about family, friends, mental health, legal issues, emotions, and other histories to understand the diagnosis.

After the assessment has been completed, the providers will begin crafting an addiction treatment plan that is specific to your needs. This will offer you the best chance for success and recovery.

Entering Treatment at Soba Texas

In order to enter a treatment facility to treat your substance use disorder, the substance abuse assessment is required. It helps to determine your path through treatment and recovery, which is why it’s so important that you are truthful and upfront with your provider.

Here at the Soba Recovery Centers in San Antonio, Texas, we consider an assessment essential. It allows us better insight into your substance use history and helps us determine your needs.

Working towards recovery is not only your goal but ours. We want to help you succeed and reach recovery so that you can live the type of life you deserve. But we have to start somewhere.

At Soba’s treatment facility, that means undergoing a substance abuse assessment before we can move forward. If you or a loved one is potentially struggling with a drug addiction or other substance use disorder, reach out to a representative at our treatment center to learn more about the inpatient services offered.

It’s never too late to get help, and you can do so in the comfort of Soba professionals.



4 Screening and Assessment | Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women | NCBI Bookshelf

CAGE Substance Abuse Screening Tool | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Alcohol Use Inventory (AUDIT) | University of Kentucky

Alcohol Rehab Insurance: How Does it Work?

Alcohol Rehab Insurance

Every day another person struggles with their alcohol addiction. It impacts their work life, close personal relationships, and relationships with themselves. Alcohol dependency can be debilitating, yet not that many people seek out treatment when they first become aware of their addiction.

It doesn’t mean it isn’t because they don’t want to seek help. Not everyone has access to good treatment facilities, which can be a major roadblock. Whether it’s because there aren’t any facilities close to you, you don’t have insurance or aren’t able to cover what your insurance doesn’t; treatment might seem out of reach to some folks.

If you have insurance, you might be wondering what access you have to alcohol rehab treatment but aren’t sure where to start. Keep reading to learn more about how insurance works for substance abuse treatment and what options might be available to you.

Does Insurance Cover Alcohol Rehab Treatment?

If you have insurance, it’s likely that alcohol rehab treatment services are either fully or partially covered. Health insurance will cover it because addiction is classified as a disease and requires medical intervention in order to get better.

Some insurance providers only cover so much and certain treatment programs, while some drug rehab facilities only accept certain insurance plans. It’s important that you talk to a representative with your insurance company so that you can learn about the insurance coverage you can receive for addiction treatment according to your plan.

In the same breath, reaching out to prospective treatment facilities about what insurance plans they accept and what options they might have for financial support can give you a better understanding of what to prepare for.

Once you’ve talked to both, you can begin to lay out a plan in order to receive the treatment you deserve.

Providers Who Cover Alcohol Rehab Treatment

There is health insurance coverage that will handle the costs of alcohol rehab treatment, but depending on the plan you’ve opted for, the exact services and costs might differ.

Some of the providers who are known to cover this kind of treatment are:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • Aetna
  • United Healthcare
  • Humana
  • Kaiser Permanente

Insurance Plans for Alcohol Treatment

In order to find the best treatment center for your needs and for your insurance policy, you should know what kind of plan you have opted for. Two common plans are Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).

HMO plans only allow you coverage to healthcare providers within the insurance plan and won’t cover anything outside of it. PPO plans are more flexible with the available health insurance providers, but you usually have to pay a higher premium for this kind of access.

This information is important to know as you start to look into different rehab centers so that you can limit your search to the treatment plans that will be covered.

Services Covered by Insurance

There are a variety of different alcohol rehab treatment services out there, and you might find that your insurance covers some rehab programs but not others. It also might be that your insurance provider only covers so much for a specific kind of treatment, leaving you to cover the rest on your own. It might limit your options, though not completely shut you away from them.

A few treatment options that are usually covered, at least partially, by insurance providers are:

  • Detoxification: The detoxification process is used when someone is heavily reliant on a substance to the point that it is dangerous for them to quit cold turkey. Medical detox at a treatment facility allows for constant monitoring so that you can stay safe and as comfortable as possible when undergoing withdrawals. This is usually the first step before entering inpatient and can be essential to the trajectory of your recovery process.
  • Inpatient Services: This is 24/7 care that allows you to focus on your recovery in a safe and encouraging environment. These mental health services are usually covered by insurance and include group therapy, individual therapy, activities, and exercises that can help you beat your drug addiction. Inpatient treatment is very structured in order to help get you back on track and hold you accountable.
  • Outpatient Services: For someone who might not be able to afford the full cost of rehab inpatient services, outpatient programs are a great option. You still live at home and can attend your job or school, but you go to the treatment facility on a schedule to participate in group and individual therapy and other activities. This allows for more flexibility while also allowing you access to alcohol abuse treatment.
  • Aftercare: Once you’ve undergone detox, inpatient, and/or outpatient treatment, you might still need some additional support. Insurance companies will often cover aftercare if it is going to assist you in your path to sobriety. These services help you to maintain sobriety and find ways to cope with life after treatment. This is an excellent time to enter AA or other support groups to keep holding yourself accountable.

Paying Without Insurance

Not everyone has the luxury of insurance, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get alcohol or drug treatment. There are public insurance plans that you might be eligible to apply for, including Medicare if you are over the age of 65 or disabled, Medicaid if you are in a state where it’s eligible, or even through the VA if you are an honorably discharged veteran.

If this doesn’t work out for you, you do have other options:

  • Payment plans might be available to you so that you can split up the total cost over a period of time
  • Some rehab centers might have payment options like sliding scales for how much you can pay to get a certain type of treatment
  • You can check out state-funded or free rehabilitation centers and services
  • You can apply for scholarships or grants that will help pay for the treatment services

You deserve treatment for your substance use disorder, and the lack of insurance shouldn’t stop you from seeking treatment. Don’t feel ashamed to ask your friends and family members to consider helping out and supporting you financially to allow you to recover. There is no shame in asking for help.

Alcohol Rehab at Soba Texas

At Soba San Antonio, we want to see you succeed. Alcohol use disorder is a serious condition that can bring lots of pain and suffering to your life. In order to get better, you have to commit to yourself and your sobriety. It can be difficult, but it’s always worth it in the end.

Soba Recovery Centers provide you with all kinds of behavioral health treatment options that are often covered by insurance. We help you undergo detoxification, through inpatient rehab and outpatient treatment, and even your aftercare. The recovery process is long and windy. We want to be there every step of the way.

If you or a loved one is considering entering treatment for their alcohol addiction or drug abuse, reach out to a Soba representative to learn more about if your health insurance plan will cover your cost of treatment.

We can help get you the treatment you deserve and work together to come up with a proper plan. Change doesn’t just happen overnight — but we can help guide you toward the right path!



Diagnosis and Pharmacotherapy of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Review | NCBI

Type Of Plan And Provider Network | HealthCare.gov

Health Maintenance Organization | StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

Medicare Preferred Provider Organization Demonstration: Plan Offerings and Beneficiary Enrollment | NCBI