Do I Have a Substance Use Disorder? It Begins with an Honest Self-Appraisal
In the last blog, I attempted to give you a simple description of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). In this blog, I will help guide you toward understanding whether you meet the criteria for one of these disorders. The essential element here is self-honesty. You will be completing some screening questions to ascertain your patterns of substance use. You must be truthful with yourself in answering these questions and avoid minimizing the answers. No one needs to know the answers to these questions besides you. Your willingness to honestly take a look at your substance use patterns takes courage. It is often very painful for us to admit our shortcomings even to ourselves. Furthermore, your willingness to take an honest appraisal of your use patterns suggests some degree of personal concern over your behavior. It is commendable that you’re willing to look at your behavior so honestly. This step alone may be one of the most significant you have ever taken towards self-improvement.
Among the screening instruments that we use at Chat2Recovery as part of our assessment process include the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) for drinkers and the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST) for substances other than alcohol. They are easy, short and scientifically validated tools for screening for SUDs. While these instruments are the ones we prefer to use, there are many more available for you to consider, including the popular Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST), the CAGE for alcohol, the Substance Dependence Severity Scale (SDSS), and the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) for substances other than alcohol.
If and when you’re ready, you can go to these instruments at the following e-mail addresses. For the AUDIT, which will be automatically scored, go to http://lapbc.com/self-tests/alcohol-use-disorder-test. For the DAST, which also is automatically scored, go to http://counsellingresource.com/lib/quizzes/drug-testing/drug-abuse. At this site, you can also get access to other alcohol screening instruments mentioned above, namely, the CAGE and the MAST. These questionnaires can all be completed anonymously, so there is no concern for your privacy. While the scores to these screening tools may or may not suggest problem use of substances, it is highly recommended that you seek an evaluation with a licensed professional who specializes in treating substance use disorders for a more accurate view of your substance use patterns. But, before you begin, remember, it all begins with an honest appraisal of your behavior.
In the next blog, I will review the difference between physical and psychological dependence to substances. Please keep your comments and questions coming! Speak soon.