What Is An Addiction Assessment?

Last Updated on September 27, 2021

If you’ve never been to drug rehab before, you’ll likely have a lot of questions when you first get started. You’re also likely to hear addiction treatment professionals talk about a lot of unfamiliar topics, such as an addiction assessment. So, what is an addiction assessment?

An addiction assessment is one of the very first steps of starting a treatment program. It’s a full physical and psychological evaluation that gives treatment professionals vital information so they can design an individualized treatment plan for you.

It’s normal to feel apprehensive or nervous about completing an addiction assessment, especially if you’ve never done it before. However, this assessment is so important. It’s an essential part of your recovery program that enables treatment professionals to provide effective treatment. That way, you can manage your addiction and live a fulfilled life in recovery.

To help you prepare for your first addiction assessment, let’s take a closer look at what it is, what you can expect, and why it’s necessary for your recovery journey.

Ready to get help for your addiction? Call (512) 605-2955 to schedule your addiction assessment with Nova or contact us online today.

Related blog: 10 Questions to Ask a Potential Drug Rehab Center

What Happens During an Addiction Assessment?

Once you are admitted to rehab, you’ll complete an addiction assessment. This in-person exam includes the following things:

Medical history

During the assessment process, you’ll be required to answer questions about your medical history. For example, you’ll likely need to provide information about your history of illnesses, injuries, medications you’ve been on, and more. You’ll also need to provide information about any previous diagnoses you’ve received, including any substance use disorders or co-occurring disorders (either related to your addiction or not).

Medical tests

Nurses on staff at the rehab center will also check your vitals, check for symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal, and review your substance use history. They may also ask you to provide urine and blood samples for testing. Depending on your medical history and other circumstances, they might ask you to complete other medical tests. These tests help treatment staff identify health problems that you may be unaware of. That way, they can treat them to help you recover.

Psychological evaluation

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, data shows that many people who suffer from substance use disorders also have mental health disorders.1 Therefore, a psychological evaluation is also an important part of an addiction assessment. Addiction treatment specialists need to know if you’re suffering from a mental health disorder. Then, they can prescribe medications and provide specialized therapies that will help you manage your symptoms. For example, Nova Recovery Center is a drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility. But, we also accept individuals with a secondary diagnosis, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and other disorders.

Why Is an Addiction Assessment Important?

An addiction assessment requires time and effort on your part. However, it’s a very important aspect of the treatment process. It gives addiction treatment specialists the information they need to gain an accurate understanding of your mental and physical health. That way, they can provide the most effective treatment possible.

According to the Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition), “effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.”2 That means addiction treatment providers need to be aware of associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems to provide the best quality care.

How Does It Impact My Treatment Plan?

Treatment professionals will inform you if they complete an addiction assessment and find out you have a secondary diagnosis or have a medical condition related to your addiction. They will also provide you with treatment recommendations and details on what your drug rehab program will look like.

For example, if you are diagnosed with PTSD following your addiction assessment, your treatment provider may recommend that you meet with a therapist for EMDR therapy during your treatment program. (EMDR therapy is a type of therapy that is used to help people process traumatic memories and experiences and promote healing.)3

Or, if you are diagnosed with major depressive disorder (also called major depression), your treatment provider may prescribe certain medications that will alleviate your symptoms and help you focus on your recovery while you’re in treatment. Your medication use will be closely monitored and tailored to your needs to prevent you from misusing potentially addictive substances while you’re in rehab.

Tips to Prepare for Your Addiction Assessment

  • Remember that rehab is a place for healing, not judgment. The questions can sometimes feel intrusive, but they are necessary for your treatment team to develop an effective program. The staff at Nova is a caring team that delivers treatment with compassion and understanding.
  • Provide honest responses. The more honest you are, the better. Your treatment team will be able to provide better treatment if they have accurate information. They’ll need to adequately address any physical or psychological issues you may be facing.
  • Know that addiction is a disease. Just like other chronic diseases, certain medical tests are necessary to determine the severity of your addiction and the type of care that will provide you with the best opportunity for healing and lasting recovery.

Related blog: 6 Things You Should Know Before Going to Inpatient Drug Rehab

Start Your Recovery Journey Today

If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, take the first step and get help today. Our compassionate team of admissions representatives is available now to take your call. Please call (512) 605-2955 or contact us online to get started.


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/part-1-connection-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illness
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/part-1-connection-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illness
  3. https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/ 

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Nova Recovery Center is dedicated to helping you or your loved one get help. Please call or fill out this form for a confidential consultation. One of our understanding, dedicated advisors will contact you about your options. Begin healing today.

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