Assessment and Diagnosis

Based on Marel et al’s (2016, p62) National Comorbidity Guidelines:

  • Given the high rates of mental disorders among people with alcohol use disorders, it is essential that routine screening and assessment be undertaken for these conditions as part of case formulation. 
  • Screening and assessment set the scene for the future client/worker relationship and need to be conducted in a compassionate and empathic manner while acknowledging the positive and negative impacts of alcohol use
  • It is important to consider a comprehensive problem list in the process of case formulation (e.g., sociocultural factors; living situation; legal issues; financial; family and relationships; and medical and personal history), not only AOD and mental health issues. 
  • Full assessment should ideally occur subsequent to a period of abstinence, or at least when not withdrawing or intoxicated. 
  • Multiple assessments should be conducted throughout a person’s treatment as symptoms may change over time. 
  • It is important to provide assessment feedback to the client in a positive, easily understood manner.