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Substance Use Screening and Assessment in South Africa

Screening, evaluation, and referral of patients with substance abuse disorders. Includes a consultation with a qualified addictions counsellor to assess the extent of the substance issue.

Screening And Assessment For Substance Abuse

On arrival, individuals undergo a thorough assessment and clinical interview. Assessment results enable practitioners to understand the severity and nature of the substance-use/process addiction, the type of trauma which you are experiencing (either on a subconscious or conscious level), the aspects of your life which have become unmanageable, what (if any) coping skills you are using to deal with the problem, the people your behaviour has affected, where you see yourself once you have recovered and what your unique treatment goals are during your stay at Recovery Direct.

The assessment process enables clinicians to glean important information and an objective understanding of the client’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. This informs the unique treatment plan going forward. Clients are encouraged to be honest throughout the process in order to experience the best results for their recovery.

While there is no single test that summarises the entire analysis of substance use issues with absolute certainty, there are many screening services, including online web tests, that may help distinguish individuals who are in danger for having a substance-related issue. Therefore, health-care professionals assess this group of illnesses by gathering thorough mental-health, medical, and family information. The practitioner will also likely ask that the individual’s primary-care doctor perform a physical exam, including lab tests to assess the person’s medical health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that can produce the same symptoms as a mental-health problem.

Exploring the presence of mental-health symptoms includes determining if the person has a substance use disorder SUD, a mood disorder like depression and/or mania or anxiety, or if he or she suffers from the hallucinations or delusions associated with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or other psychotic disorders. The possible presence of personality or behaviour disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also usually explored. Practitioners may use a quiz or self-test as a screening tool for substance-use disorders.


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Individual counselling for drug addictions has proven to be one of the most effective ways to combat addictions and for clients to sustain their lasting sobriety and meaningful personal growth. Many people think that substances are the core of the addiction problem. However, substances are very often a temporary solution or coping mechanism used by the person to cope with deeper issues that exist in their emotional wellbeing. These emotional layers form over time and may need to be addressed through more focused talk therapy or addiction counselling.