Substance and alcohol abuse can profoundly affect an individual in several ways. Addiction impacts not only medical health but also mental health and family relationships. Many learn about risk reduction too late, when the substance use disorder has already taken over their life. For this reason, substance abuse treatment may be required before the person endangers themselves, their health, or the safety of others. The first step in getting help is determining the best course of treatment with a substance abuse evaluation.

What Qualifies as Substance Abuse?

At the Master Center for Addiction Medicine, we specialize in comprehensive addiction and drug use risk evaluations. Substance abuse may cover a range of addictions, including alcohol, heroin, painkillers, cocaine, and other drugs. Whether you seek professional help for court-ordered treatment because of a DUI, disorderly conduct, or public intoxication charge, or you sought out help on your own, Master Center can create a plan that works for you. Our process ranges from intake interview to clinical evaluation, comprehensive substance abuse and mental health assessment, and Multidisciplinary Comprehensive Assessment.

What Are the Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder?

Addiction is a disease, and as such, people who suffer from it will manifest symptoms. The symptoms of drug addiction may include:

  • Regular use of the substance, daily or multiple times per day
  • Intense urges to partake in the substance
  • Requiring more of the drug to feel the same effect
  • Consuming or using substantial amounts of the substance over an extended period
  • Needing a constant supply of the drug
  • Spending money on the substance even when you cannot afford to
  • Falling behind on work, school, or other responsibilities
  • Avoiding social situations because of drug use
  • Not being able to stop using
  • Doing risky things, like stealing and other activities to obtain the drug
  • Going through withdrawals when you stop taking the substance

If you or someone you love struggles with substance use, you deserve professional support from a trained social worker. At Master Center, we understand that this is a difficult time, not only for the one undergoing substance abuse evaluation but also for their loved ones. Our treatment plans, carefully devised by professional addiction physicians, seek to get the best outcome for you and your family.

Meeting Each Individual’s Needs

At the Master Center, we always put our patients first. We seek to gain a thorough understanding of each patient, their family, and their loved ones. This step is key to developing a treatment plan that will get them on the road to recovery. Receiving treatment for substance use disorders is not easy. That’s why we tailor our treatment plans to each patient’s particular needs. 

The first stage is completing a clinical evaluation. Here, patients undergo intense one-on-one sessions with a professional substance abuse physician. Then, they will receive a comprehensive assessment touching on criminal history, health history (including mental health), drug use, alcohol use, and more. Finally, patients go through Multidisciplinary Comprehensive Assessment. The M-CAP is a rigorous, multi-day assessment that includes everything from structured individual and group therapy sessions to a confidential lab testing process, the CAGE questionnaire, and a psychiatric assessment. Evaluating drug and alcohol use is the first step toward treatment. Prioritize your health by reading about each step in Master Center’s award-winning treatment plan.

Level 1: What Does a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Consist Of?

The first stage in Master Center’s substance abuse evaluation process is clinical evaluation. Patients may come on a court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment notice or of their own accord to gain resources for dealing with substance abuse. Either way, everyone receives the same care and attention.

The clinical evaluation begins the same way for all patients: a one-on-one interview assessment with a highly qualified addiction physician. Master Center’s staff has leading professionals in substance abuse, recovery, and treatment. This interview acts as an initial screening. We gather information on each patient’s commonly used drugs or alcohol, usage patterns, and drug and or alcohol test history. 

A drug screening is a vital tool in the addictionology report. This chemical evaluation, known as a toxicology report, helps provide a picture for the complete substance abuse psychiatry evaluation. Patients will receive a report co-written by the substance abuse psychologist and psychiatrist at our Richmond, VA center.

Level 2: Comprehensive Evaluation

In the comprehensive substance abuse evaluation, Master Center provides a full drug or alcohol abuse report that features psychiatric evaluations, medical test results, and therapeutic observations. We also recommend recovery options.

Comprehensive substance abuse evaluations, put together by professionals in the medical field who understand the impact drugs can have on a life, will become an essential tool for moving forward with the recovery process.

Level 3: Multidisciplinary Comprehensive Assessment Program (M-CAP)

The M-CAP puts all the test and interview-related material to use. Over three days, the M-CAP utilizes different screening and testing approaches to support each patient. Some might undergo a diagnostic interview schedule iv; others might undergo a substance abuse subtle screening. The M-CAP screening process, structured according to best practices laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, includes:

  • Data Collection from Collateral Sources, Including Past Records
  • Mental Health Counseling Evaluation
  • Individual Therapy Sessions
  • Full Lab Evaluation
  • Individual/Group Therapy Sessions
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment Programs
  • Toxicology
  • Substance Abuse Psychiatry

By gathering as much information as possible, we can determine each patient’s specific resources and support. Drug and alcohol use is different for each person. Recovery requires an individualized approach to reflect that. At the Master Center, we offer several routes to recovery for our patients to get the best results.

Addiction Recovery Programs and Integrated Services

Following the substance abuse evaluation, we can present several treatment options. There will be a range of options, and that’s intentional. Some plans will be free to accommodate income-restricted patients, while others include room and board costs. Some plans are structured around in-person interviews, tests, and screening steps. Others are online, outpatient options related to the patient’s particular needs. Master Center will work with you to determine which plan works for your life. We’ll also help you contact the appropriate people to begin the process. Some of our offerings include:

Intensive Outpatient Program 

IOPs are an excellent option for those who struggle with substance use but can’t afford to take time off work to participate in an inpatient treatment program. After a screening and assessment process similar to substance abuse evaluation, IOP facilitators will create a system for the patient to follow on their own time. Many IOPs go beyond traditional inpatient recovery programs by educating patients on the purpose of a substance they may be using, rather than just helping them not to use it.

Specialty Therapies

For patients who have tried traditional inpatient and outpatient services without much luck, Master Center offers specialty therapies related to addiction. Sometimes, a traditional treatment plan needs to address not only drugs and alcohol but also co-occurring triggers. Many patients who live with substance use issues but don’t rank high on the addiction severity index find these alternative therapy options quite helpful. Specialty therapies may be the missing ingredient in your treatment plan, from the Music in Recovery Group to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

In such cases as a charge of driving under the influence or a court-ordered evaluation, patients may want to consider Medication-Assisted Treatment. MAT is not for the random drug user but the user of difficult-to-kick substances, such as heroin or cocaine.