Home > Stopping Addicitons > How to Assess The Level of an Addiction

How to Assess The Level of an Addiction

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 11 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Addiction; Assessment; Tools; Models;

Assessing the level of a persons addiction is a very difficult task but one that is useful in planning and implementing an appropriate path of treatment.

The word addiction is widely used in loose terms and in general conversation, for example ‘ooh, I’m really addicted to those lovely sweets you get in…’ where it is spoken in fun, yet how often do actual addicts make such statements?

Many sufferers may not admit, at least not openly, to their addiction as if one admits to having a problem, then there are issues that need addressing and behaviours must change.

A lot of sufferers hide their addiction and are ashamed to divulge to others their problems. Some use self-assessment as a measure of addiction, though this is a highly unreliable source. Frequent statements such as ‘because I don’t drink first thing in the morning, I don’t have a problem’ or with gamblers, ‘I can afford it so where’s the problem?’ These facts may be valid to the user, but if your vice is affecting other aspects of your life for instance your health, relationships with others, finances or social matters than chances are you have a problem with addiction.

How Addicts Are Assessed

Many treatment units have their own tools used for the assessment of patients or clients, that will be based on proven models of assessment and adapted to their particular specifications. They will usually include some degree of each of the following aspects: - behavioural patterns, psychological issues, biological influence and social concerns.

Considerations of issues to be assessed may include frequency, amount, duration, patterns, matters of control, impact on life and potential consequences; these can be applied to any addiction.

The assessor will use the results to discover whether the addiction is due to a physical dependence or whether the individual has a psychological addiction. It is important to discover this in order to establish the correct plan of care.

Physical addictions are usually found in those hooked on tobacco, alcohol and most substances in general, whereas psychological dependence is found in those suffering with addictions such as gambling, internet and sex.

Techniques Used

Assessment can be achieved by using any or all of the following methods:- question and answer (either written or verbal) using a mixture of closed and open ended questions, observations, testimonies from others and using a scoring system against set out criteria.

One of the most commonly used tool for assessing addicts (especially those with a habit for drugs and alcohol) is the European Addiction Severity Index. This instrument will provide a score for the person; a high score indicates a greater need for treatment. To find this score information such as history, frequency, consequences, medical issues, legal matters, employment, social factors, family and psychological profile is used, and results are interpreted and used to plan an effective and appropriate plan of care tailored to the individuals needs.

All units will have developed a tool that they use for assessing the level of a person’s addiction. The results of these assessments may tally with or vary greatly from the individual’s perception of their problem.

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Hi. I think I have an addictive personality. Over the past few years I have been addicted to smoking then gambling and now strong painkillers. I have had help from the nhs and no longer smoke/gamble or take the strong painkillers. I’m slowly being taken off them by my supportive GP. I have contacted a local drugs rehab place who haven’t got back to me but I’m not sure if that’s the right avenue to go down. Are there places that can help me in other aspects ie. the fact I find it easy to get addicted to things and how easy I find it to lie to my wife about my problems. I’m at a loss as to what to do really. Thanks for any advice offered.
Hazo - 11-Oct-18 @ 3:01 PM
Its a very hard life being a addict be kind to yourselfgo to GP They are not judgemental . Will give you something to calm you down reassure you then refer you to drug counselling gou can do this dont give up x
Dawn - 4-Oct-18 @ 1:34 PM
Any addiction seems fun when you step on to that road it leads to nothing but distruction . And its only you who can take the right turning . Beleive in yourself you can do it.
Dawn - 4-Oct-18 @ 1:26 PM
Hi I am looking for some support and help I have no one close to me that I can talk too as I have been hiding my addiction for years now and all my family and friends think this is something I over came years ago I can’t go to any authority’s as I have a 2 year old daughter but I am really struggling and so want my life back but have nowhere to turn too and really really want/need to get better.
G - 3-Oct-18 @ 9:29 PM
I think am addicted to coke stop then start again can’t help it I get an urge take it an can’t stop once start. Can’t sleep or eta proper it’s making me mad can’t be bothered with anyone just want be alone or be with people if want something no one gets me I pretend I’m ok but I’m. Not help me
Singh - 29-Sep-18 @ 10:27 PM
@Kipper - this is obviously an addiction, especially if you are not happy with yourself about it and feel sick and confused. Rather than speak to friends about it, go an see your GP. There will be help out there for you, you just need to seek it. Counselling etc may help. Seeking professional help will make you feel better, it's the first step to getting back to a place where you'd like to be.
EllieN - 18-Sep-18 @ 10:47 AM
@Francis - you have to get help, no other way around it. There is no magic cure, only you can help yourself out of the mess.
Gill - 17-Sep-18 @ 12:59 PM
Hello I’m a 26 year old man with an addiction to sex, over the past 4 years it’s gotten gradually worse I believe, I stop for a week but have a complete relapse and before I know Im driving 40miles to have sex with tranvestites. Its come to the point where i feel absolutely sick in the stomach of myself, it’s strange I never thought I’d be the person who developed this disgusting addiction I have, I feel like I don’t know how to be a normal person anymore, I can barely look my daughter in her eyes anymore. And I love her more than anything in the whole world. It’s taken over my life now and I honestly don’t know how long I’ll get away with it. It’s just a matter of time. I want to change I feel I have the capacity to do it but how and if is beyond me now. Iv never spoken to anyone professionally about this I have spoken to one of my friends but It didnt make it feel any better or like there was any relief ,I don’t think there is a treatment. It’s like a switch in my head and then there’s nothing else. Obviously a big question on if I’m gay or not but I just dont think I am, I’m just a vial cretin
Kipper - 16-Sep-18 @ 10:40 PM
I've been taking amphetamines on & off for 24 yrs. The Last couple of weeks the habit has came back with avendgance. I need to break this habit. I lost my last job cause of it. I can't hold a job down because of it.
Francis - 15-Sep-18 @ 3:36 PM
Hi all.. thank you for all leaving your stories, and kudos for being brave enough to come out and ask people for help. My problem is with my boyfriend. Before we got together he was doing a lot of cocaine, on the weekends and in the week, causing him to not go to work. I was aware of this when we started dating and asked him to reign it in, it wasn’t something I wanted to be around, due to my cousin being addicted and killing himself because of it and the affects it had on his mind. He has got better, but is still doing it every weekend, sometimes sat at home by himself. And after many arguments, I’m at a loss of what to do about it, I don’t know if I’m overreacting, or if I’m right in thinking he has a problem, he can’t say no when anyone offers, and then he tries to deny it to me, even though I can see it. Any advice would be much appreciated, as I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall and am at a loss of what else to say to him, without leaving him.. which is going to happen soon if it continues. Thanks all
Vmcc89 - 11-Sep-18 @ 1:56 AM
Sheardy - Your Question:
Hi I have a serious addiction with gambling, I've been gambling since the age of 18 I am now 29 and I have never been able to stop myself, some days I can be fine and other days I'm not something just triggers it to happen and I just spiral out of control. One minute I can be winning lots of money and the next I lose lots of money I just can't stop myself and just becomes out of control. I feel very depressed and I am currently at my lowest point in my life wanting to self harm myself, where I am about to lose everything that has happened to me, my girlfriend who is fed up of me and that I owe thousands of pounds to for bailing me out, my house I will be getting kicked out of and everything else this is the beginning of a knock on process. I need serious help and I need to get my life back on track as I don't know what to do next as my life is becoming a real big mess

Our Response:
The link here should help you further, or at least point you in the right direction regarding how you can access the help you need.
BeatingAddictions - 7-Sep-18 @ 11:05 AM
The hemit - Your Question:
[ need help my life is too deep look im gonna lose everything. Cocaine is taking over e my life for the worst I'm single pParen and a full time carer. I hide it all but I getting worst some help and advice if I an get some quidence sorry about spelling I been up all night binging on coke

Our Response:
Your only recourse is to seek help from your GP. Unfortunately, we cannot help you directly, we are purely a service to point you in the right direction. The link here will help you further.
BeatingAddictions - 7-Sep-18 @ 9:21 AM
Hi I have a serious addiction with gambling, I've been gambling since the age of 18 I am now 29 and I have never been able to stop myself, some days I can be fine and other days I'm not something just triggers it to happen and I just spiral out of control. One minute I can be winning lots of money and the next I lose lots of money I just can't stop myself and just becomes out of control. I feel very depressed and I am currently at my lowest point in my life wanting to self harm myself, where I am about to lose everything that has happened to me, my girlfriend who is fed up of me and that I owe thousands of pounds to for bailing me out, my house I will be getting kicked out of and everything else this is the beginning of a knock on process. I need serious help and I need to get my life back on track as I don't know what to do next as my life is becoming a real big mess
Sheardy - 6-Sep-18 @ 9:02 PM
[ need help mylife is too deep look imgonna lose everything . Cocaine is taking over e my lifefor theworst I'm singlep Paren and a full time carer. I hide it all but I getting worst some help and advice if Ian get some quidence sorry about spelling I been up all nightbinging on coke
The hemit - 6-Sep-18 @ 7:17 AM
@Big Rob - sorry to hear that you have got yourself into this cycle. You're going to have to go to your doctors to get help as you need professional counselling. This is something you definitely can't keep up as you will end up homeless and on the streets if it spirals out of control. Give MIND a call - they are very helpful too.The main thing is that you realise you need help, that's the first hurdle you have jumped:(
JadeG - 4-Sep-18 @ 12:08 PM
I am 38 years old and I have a cocaine and gambling addiction. I need to stop because it is destroying my life. I am in full time employment and do not want my employers to find out about this. It is not just effecting my life but also my family around me. They do not know about the cocaine and think I have stopped the gambling. I want to stop but there is something in my head that just won’t let me. I suffered from depression and anxiety and I think I still do but I make out I’m ok. I have never got no money because if I have it I spend it on cocaine, as soon as I have cocaine I can,t help but gamble. I have tried barring myself from all online sites but you can always find a new one to gamble on. My phone is in the pawnshop and my phone bill is nearly £600 because it allowed me to deposit on gambling sites. I just want to stop, I don’t even have to go out to take the cocaine I will just sit on my own at home and take it. It’s 6:00 in the morning again and I have to leave for work in a hour and a half and I have not slept. I have never taken drugs while I am at work. I have bailiff’s chasing me for council tax arrears of nearly £2500. I am currently selling my house to pay all my debts and as soon as this happens I want a new start, can you please advise the best thing for me to do :-) thanks
Big Rob - 30-Aug-18 @ 6:06 AM
Hi all, It's helpful reading everyone's honest stories I think and well done everyone for sharing, I don't think it's easy. I have done cocaine and gambled for 10-15 years now and am starting to believe I actually want to change and need to.It's so tough, and I've not nailed it at all but having a new focus is key I think, whatever it is.I have started to go to the gym a bit more and that helps a bit, started to go days without anything, also helps but I do reward myself as I think it's a slow process. I have really dark days like everyone probably does but I really am starting to think it's just down to us all just cutting it all out...no silver bullet. I'll let you know when I find out how btw!
Ceed - 27-Aug-18 @ 1:45 AM
Hi, At 37, after almost a bottle of red wine, bi-weekly occurance, I listened more intently to Patti Smith 'Pissing in a River', and after knowing the song for over fifteen years finally got the message. I have a few mental health problems, and have never really been in denial, but equally never put my best foot forward. Between laziness, family support and defeatism I have managed to dodge a lot. I have never been to an AA meeting, but had a little help in the past. My alchohol issue isn't noticably major, but in my head it is becoming more so, and after reading several things I know clearly I have a problem, with my ADHD or without. Now, please, my question is, if I throw myself into 2 AA meetings a week at different locations, am I just fooling myself and being compulsive? I need support, I need help more than once a week, but I doubt my own choices. Any guidance would be appreciated. Many thanks, Cameron
Mack - 20-Aug-18 @ 6:29 PM
Jd95 - Your Question:
Hi I was looking for a bit of help I’ve struggled since I’ve turned 18 with drugs now 23, every time I have a drink I go on a bender for days take loads of cocaine and it’s really effecting my life and need some help as to how I would get it sorted

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we cannot give direct help. You would have to go through your GP, please see the link here . The positive move is admitting that you need help. So many people wait before until the situation spirals out of control. Admitting you have a problem is the first step in trying to overcome it.
BeatingAddictions - 14-Aug-18 @ 2:10 PM
Hi I was looking for a bit of help I’ve struggled since I’ve turned 18 with drugs now 23, every time I have a drink I go on a bender for days take loads of cocaine and it’s really effecting my life and need some help as to how I would get it sorted
Jd95 - 13-Aug-18 @ 8:17 PM
Unknown - Your Question:
I finally got myself to a AA meeting, my first one. It was based on the ‘new comers’ which was only me. I sat and listened, some of it went in some of it didn’t. After it was over I left and told myself that it wasn’t for me and that I’m not going back. My reason being that I’m not an addict, that I’m only 19 and my ‘story’ isn’t as bad as there’s is or even once was so I must not be an addict. I Do know I have problems but who doesn’t. Any advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
The question you have to ask yourself is why have you ended up at an AA meeting? Many people are in denial, especially if they can still function normally, still go to work every day, such as go to work or lead a 'normal' life. However, if you physically want alcohol, crave it, plan your life around it and it impinges on your day-to-day life and/or relationships, then you have a problem. Problems can start of as being seemingly minor (especially as you are still only quite young), but if you have a continued need for alcohol then if not dealt with then it can spiral out of control. A lot of alcoholics can talk themselves out of having a problem in order to be able to continue with their habit. However, at some point the habit will catch up with them. If you're are suffering from addiction to alcohol and want to overcome it, you need assistance. If you are suffering from an addiction to alcohol, but are trying to convince yourself that you can treat your addiction yourself, or it is not as bad as other people you may have witnessed, then you are in denial and need assistance.
BeatingAddictions - 13-Aug-18 @ 2:11 PM
I finally got myself to a AA meeting, my first one. It was based on the ‘new comers’ which was only me... I sat and listened, some of it went in some of it didn’t. After it was over I left and told myself that it wasn’t for me and that I’m not going back. My reason being that I’m not an addict, that I’m only 19 and my ‘story’ isn’t as bad as there’s is or even once was so I must not be an addict... I Do know I have problems but who doesn’t. Any advice would be appreciated.
Unknown - 11-Aug-18 @ 5:56 AM
Visitor - Your Question:
Hello Everyone,I hope this message is discrete.I am desperetly looking for help.Started taking Meth daily 6 month ago, gbl, benzos.I am trying to stop last 3 months, specialist saw me once, tried with antidepressant.I want to stop, I want my life back but depression, confusing and panic attacs are too painful. Having strong pain in left leg, cramps in fingers and face over chest.I was looking everywhere for help but I dont have money for private clinic.I am scared to talk to GPs everything is going medical record, I was already judged by doctors for that.I can not beat withdrawls at home. When was sober a few days ago crashed. Partner found me. could not remember anything. Never had any health problems before this.

Our Response:
Doctors will never judge you for your actions. The only way to get help officially is to seek medical advice as you can then be referred to counselling etc. You can speak to someone via the link here or here , if you wish to speak to someone unofficially.
BeatingAddictions - 31-Jul-18 @ 1:42 PM
A87 - Your Question:
Im a 31 year old male an have always used cocaine when out with friends an was always able to take it or leave it but for the past 3 years ive gradually let it take over my life an I think it would be fair to say im addicted. I use it most days an to be honest doesnt really effect me how it used to. My wife doesnt kbow to what extent I use as she thinks ive stopped. Im on the verge of losing everything including my 3 year old daughter yet still cant seem to stop. I honestly dont know what to do anymore my life is a mess.

Our Response:
Knowing you have a problem is the first hurdle of trying to solve your problem. The psychological dependency is what you will have to try kick. Therefore, getting help is of paramount importance, please see the link here which will help answer your question. There is no magic formula, the start of the process has to be the want, desire and need to kick your habit.
BeatingAddictions - 31-Jul-18 @ 11:42 AM
Hello Everyone, I hope this message is discrete. I am desperetly looking for help. Started taking Meth daily 6 month ago, gbl, benzos. I am trying to stop last 3 months, specialist saw me once, tried with antidepressant. I want to stop, I want my life back but depression, confusing and panic attacs are too painful. Having strong pain in left leg, cramps in fingers and face over chest. I was looking everywhere for help but I dont have money for private clinic. I am scared to talk to GPs everything is going medical record, I was already judged by doctors for that. I can not beat withdrawls at home. When was sober a few days ago crashed. Partner found me. could not remember anything. Never had any health problems before this.
Visitor - 30-Jul-18 @ 7:21 PM
Im a 31 year old male an have always used cocaine when out with friends an was always able to take it or leave it but for the past 3 years ive gradually let it take over my life an i think it would be fair to say im addicted. I use it most days an to be honest doesnt really effect me how it used to. My wife doesnt kbow to what extent i use as she thinks ive stopped. Im on the verge of losing everything including my 3 year old daughter yet still cant seem to stop. I honestly dont know what to do anymore my life is a mess.. .
A87 - 30-Jul-18 @ 3:31 PM
@Silverpineapple - cocaine is the second most popular illegal drug in the UK after cannabis. Many people use it for recreational use. Your son has to want to leave it alone and unfortunately only he can make that decision. The expense of it may begin to change his mind. While it isn't physically addictive it is mentally addictive. So keep a close eye on him. Staying up until the early hours and sleeping much of the day is a sign. Users also seem to consume a lot more alcohol than usual when taking it. It's a horrible drug. I hope you can persuade him away from it :(
FrankaM - 30-Jul-18 @ 10:35 AM
I’ve recently found out my 22 year old son has been taking cocaine, although this seem to be recreational as he holds down a good job has a girlfriend and socialises at weekends,?it seems to be when he is out at weekends it is normal for him and his friends to have a few lines. He becomes a completely different person, his whole demeanour changes. How do I break this habit?
Silver pineapple - 29-Jul-18 @ 7:35 AM
Bean125 - Your Question:
Myself and my sister are both in education, she lives with my mum going to college and I moved away to study at a uni. We’ve recently discovered that our mum had some kind of gambling addiction. She’s a single parent and money has always been an issue since my dad left but he also triggered other mental health issues in her when he lived with us through abuse. She sometimes asked for some of my loan to help if her pay day didn’t match with the rent and usually I get it back however this time the transactions my sister found showed my money being used for gambling £50 a time. My sister showed this to her along with search histories of frequent playing and other evidence and she denied the whole thing and shut off completely. This needs to stop but I have no idea how to get her to see that she needs to and to let someone help?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. As highlighted in the article, denial is an essential component of becoming addicted, so the response of your mother is not unusual. It means your mother has to admit it to herself first that she has a problem and then seek help. You may be able to support and advise, but it is the person with the problem that has to take the ultimate responsibility for themselves. You can see more via the NHS link here which can help you point you in the right direction and encourage her to seek help. I hope this helps and best of luck.
BeatingAddictions - 19-Mar-18 @ 2:19 PM
Myself and my sister are both in education, she lives with my mum going to college and I moved away to study at a uni. We’ve recently discovered that our mum had some kind of gambling addiction. She’s a single parent and money has always been an issue since my dad left but he also triggered other mental health issues in her when he lived with us through abuse. She sometimes asked for some of my loan to help if her pay day didn’t match with the rent and usually I get it back however this time the transactions my sister found showed my money being used for gambling £50 a time. My sister showed this to her along with search histories of frequent playing and other evidence and she denied the whole thing and shut off completely. This needs to stop but I have no idea how to get her to see that she needs to and to let someone help?
Bean125 - 17-Mar-18 @ 10:04 PM
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