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How to Assess The Level of an Addiction

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 30 Nov 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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For the last few years I find it difficult not to think about alcohol when it gets to about 6 or 7 at night and when I do have alcohol it tends to be a high percentage wine because I've tried to do it the sensible way but I just feel I need to knock my self out. Its having an effect on my health now, I've gained 5 stone in weight, I've been to counciling sessions but they made me feel worse, I even tried hypnosis but here I am still feeling crap cause I drank far too much yet again. Just want the old me back
Es76 - 30-Nov-18 @ 5:32 AM
Hi, i have a girlfriend who is addicted to pain killers, we have 2 small children and i work full time. This has been going on for a long time, countless trips to the hospital and having the doctor come out to our home. We have discussed that it needs to stop for the sake of our children but she doesn't want to listen. Its difficult as it makes us feel that we are not good enough for her, she will choose to get high over us everytime... any advice would be helpful
Tablets - 24-Nov-18 @ 2:45 AM
I think I've always been an addict. I did rehab in 2008. Completed the course, but mentally was detached. I regularly consume 30+ units of alcohol per day. Probably every day to be fair, if not more. I have had problems with cocaine in the past and still now even though I moved away to get away from it. At its worst it was a 400 a week habit. I gamble. This year 20k wasted. That's as a man that works, struggles with all of the above and has probably only earnt 30k. Live alone. My health both physical and mental is terrible. Im 40 and don't seem to learn. I feel like an alien. I can't see a way out. I think I have too many issues. I have looked up meetings but don't know which I would be welcomed at as every single addiction is still active in some way or another. I don't want to turn up to the wrong meeting if I will put someone else's recovery at detriment.I'm lost. Sorry for sounding off. I know it sounds like I don't really want to change, and that is partly true as I can't see how. But I do, I just feel I'm in too deep. I hope I find the bravery to at least try. I owe myself that. Enough said now, I'm not looking for answers,just perhaps needed to type. Mortified
Natho1978 - 19-Nov-18 @ 11:06 PM
Wouldn’t like to call it an addiction but how it has progressed lately it definitely is. I take cocaine more or less every weekend sometimes odd day through week, if I go out even tho most would say that’s not an addiction (in my Circe that is ) iv managed to lose my job from it an a few other things .. constantly feel like I’m just fukin up at every turn .. anybody else ? ??
Nik - 18-Nov-18 @ 12:12 AM
Hi, I think I'm addicted to dihydrocodeine. I started to take it after surgery & now I can't stop. I have tryed many times but the withdrawl symptoms are terrible. I spoke to my doctor & they recommend lowering the dose which I have but I still take it every day even if not needed.
Lost - 14-Nov-18 @ 12:46 PM
I have a gambling addiction and I live at home, I have cost my parents money, I have mental health issues and I’m on tablets. I want to overcome my gambling and mental health issues. I can’t stop gambling
Chris - 9-Nov-18 @ 4:15 PM
Hello, I am a 27 year old, I don’t want to drink all day every day but I have a very stressful job which when I finally get home after sometimes a 12 to 16 hour shift I like to have a drink.... my problem is I can’t tell myself when to go to bed.... I start counting down the hours that I have to sleep and I convince myself that I can have ‘one more’ before I sleep... it results in me having very little sleep every night and when I don’t work I feel like I deserve to have a drink because of how hard I’ve worked... it’s an endless cycle I can’t see the end of
Drew - 5-Nov-18 @ 3:25 AM
I am realizing I have an alcohol problem but I've always been and seen a man finished work has a beer I like to do that but recently it has got more meetings don't help I hate that I may lose my wife and kids I need to sort it
Ste - 2-Nov-18 @ 9:04 PM
Hello I have a 2 year old and my mother in law looks after her as she is not ready for nursery and we work full time! We knew that my mother in law had problems with alcohol before we asked her to come to take care of my little one but we thought that beeing within the family it will make it better....but it didn't. I can still smell alcohol fresh inher breath early in the morning. We said to her twice..that if she does it again....she will have to leave. Another 6 months passed... and we are back to square 1. She takes great care of us and my little one...and I don't want her to leave....I want to help her...where should I start?
BUTTERFLY - 27-Oct-18 @ 7:49 AM
I'm so confused as to what my problem is, but I'm sure I've gotten one! I don't yet think I'm fully addicted but that may be me just being nieve! I have the most amazing child who is honestly who I love most in the world but I'm letting her down! I don't drink or do drugs any other day but Fridays come round my child is at her fathers, I finish work and I just can't seem to stop myself I hate sitting alone as I can't stand my own thoughts sometimes. I lost my mum 4 years ago and have terrible arthritis sometimes I think it's the pain relief I'm feeling addicted too. Sounds daft but I leave my self notes in my phone diary so it pings when I finish work, I'll write things like stop being a bad mum or your going to end up dead! I just don't know what to do! I don't live in the worst town in the world, to look at it it's considered a very nice area but it's like a fish bowl and drugs are so excessable!! If my child was home I'd be fine as have no thoughts to do anything in the week, I just don't understand how Friday comes along and I lose all my senses and then I spend days after feeling guilty and stupid, but then I'm doing the same things every week. I have some friends that take and some that don't, I've told the ones that do that I've had enough and don't want to do it anymore they understand but sadly I think their in similar situations! I've been spending more time with friends that don't as I feel a little more controlled but they can't always be there and isn't fair to ask them to be! Don't know what to do.
Marie - 21-Oct-18 @ 9:37 AM
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
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