Many people find it hard to admit when alcohol becomes a problem.
Often, others see the problem before the individual sees it. Once the individual recognizes the problem with drinking, they should then talk with a professional about those concerns. At the Weekend Intervention Program, you have the opportunity to work with caring professionals throughout the weekend who will help you carefully explore your personal relationship with alcohol. The diagnosis of a substance user disorder or addiction can seem like a daunting experience, but it can be the starting point for making positive changes in your life!
Who Will Make the Diagnosis?
Many different health care professionals are trained to conduct alcohol/drug assessments, including addictions counselors, physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers and other therapists. They are often called “clinicians” when they are carrying out assessments or therapy. The WIP clinicians are skilled in obtaining a comprehensive history and offering caring confrontation to the denial that is sometimes present with a substance use disorder.
All health care professionals are trained to treat people with substance use disorders with courtesy, respect, and a non-judgmental attitude. You can trust them to keep the information you give them confidential.
How Will They Decide If I Have a Problem?
The clinician will make a diagnosis using a combination of objective criteria and clinical judgment. Objective criteria are usually based on the ICD-10 diagnostic criteria which lists the symptoms of a substance use disorder.
Diagnostic information can be gathered in several different ways, including:
Standardized assessment tools and other questionnaires that the clinic staff will give you to fill out.
- Face to face “open-ended” interviewing, which is like a conversation, with the clinician making notes. This is best for history-taking so you can explain the circumstances in your own words.
- Face to face “structured” interviewing, in which the clinician will ask standard questions and write down your answers. It’s a bit like completing a questionnaire, but you can discuss questions as you go along.
The questions and focus of the discussion will involve some or all of the following:
- The history of your substance use.
- The effects of your addiction on the other areas of your life, including your family, social life, work life and financial situation.
- Your readiness to change.
A good diagnostic assessment will also gather information on your general mental and physical health to assess whether you are suffering from another condition such as depression, anxiety disorder or personality disorder. You might be referred to medical physician if there are specific physical concerns, or to a psychiatric physician if there is an indication of another significant mental health issue. Co-existing conditions can and should be treated at the same time as the addictive behavior.