Addiction and Co-occurring Disorders
When a person sees a doctor, psychiatrist, or other treatment professional asking for help for suspected substance abuse, the first step for the treatment professional is to perform an assessment and diagnosis. Through interviewing the person and making educated observations based on the professional’s expertise, including, if possible, talking to other family members, the professional assembles information on the person’s behavior, attitudes, and symptoms, and compares them with the standard manual used for diagnosing mental health disorders.
By comparing the information gained from screening the person to the symptoms listed in the manual, the professional can begin to determine whether or not the person actually has a substance use disorder and whether there are also any co-occurring disorders. By performing integrated screening, which looks specifically for co-occurring disorders, the professional can make a more precise diagnosis.