What to Know Before Your Substance Abuse Evaluation


Are struggling with addiction? Is it affecting your performance at work?

If so, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that nearly 20% of hospitality and construction workers indulge in binge drinking or illicit drug use. Another 18% admitted to skipping work or going into work with a hangover during the past year.

If you’re caught drinking on the job or you fail court-ordered drug testing, you may be required to obtain a substance abuse evaluation. This might sound scary, but what is it exactly? And what will it mean for your future job prospects?

Keep reading for the answers to these important questions.

What Is the Goal of Substance Abuse Evaluation?

The purpose of a professional evaluation is to:

  • Determine if you have a problem with substance abuse
  • How mild or severe that problem is
  • What level of intervention or treatment is needed for recovery

It’s normal to feel nervous in this situation, but remember that the goal of the assessor is to help you — not accuse you. With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at the three main steps that make up substance abuse evaluation.

Step 1: Substance Abuse Screening

Before you meet with your psychologist, counselor, or social worker, you’ll start by filling out a pre-assessment questionnaire.

This standardized assessment will include questions about your past and current habits with drugs and/or alcohol. It might also include questions to help the evaluator understand other factors that could influence your behavior. For example, do you suffer from anxiety or depression? Have you recently experienced a divorce or a death in the family?

Be open and honest on the questionnaire. Resist the urge to lie or downplay any behaviors that might seem like “red flags.”

Step 2: Evaluation & Assessment

The evaluator will review your questionnaire to learn about your background before you meet for the in-person assessment. As a professional, they’ll remain neutral and won’t draw any conclusions until after they’ve met with you.

The evaluation is your chance to give more details about some of your answers or provide other information related to your habits and behaviors. You can read on here to learn more about what to expect during your assessment.

Step 3: Diagnosis & Treatment Plan

With the information gathered during the screening and assessment, the evaluator will write a report with their findings. This will include any recommendations about possible intervention or treatment plans.

You should have the chance to review your report for accuracy before the evaluator files it with the appropriate authorities. You may not agree with everything in the report, but make sure you at least understand it and ask questions about anything that’s unclear.

Get Evaluated & Get Your Life Back on Track

A substance abuse evaluation is a positive step in the right direction. Whether your addiction is mild, severe, or anywhere in between, the evaluation can bring you closer to the help you need to get (and stay) clean.

Bookmark this article and refer back to it as you prepare for your assessment. That way you’ll be fully prepared to start down the path to recovery.

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