The Addiction Severity Index Is Used By Clinicians As Structured Or Semi Structured Interviews

The Addiction Severity Index Is Used By Clinicians As Structured Or Semi Structured Interviews

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There are many different comprehensive instruments that are used by clinicians as structured or semi-structured interviews. These instruments determine many different aspects of addiction and treatment. One such instrument is the Addiction Severity Index. The ASI attempts to gather valuable information about a person’s life that can help to identify what may contribute to their substance abuse problems.
The Addiction Severity Index can be applied to both alcohol and other drug areas (Hester & Miller, 2003). It was created about 20 years ago by A. Thomas McLellan and his associates at the Center for Studies of Addiction in Philadelphia (Makela, 2004). It was the first standardized assessment tool of its kind. The Addiction Severity Index has been used widely in clinical settings and in treatment research and has also been translated to many different languages (Makela, 2004). Rather than focusing on addiction itself the ASI puts together a big picture of problem areas leading to addiction. It is a 45-60 minute interview that is divided into eight subscales in addition to a general informational scale (Hester & Miler, 2003). Hester and Miller stated that, “The eight subscales focus on life problems, medical, legal, employment/support, alcohol, other drug, family/social, and psychiatric functioning. In addition, interviewers are asked to rate the severity of each area for each client and their own confidence in (1) the client’s truthfulness and their own confidence and (2) the client’s ability to understand.” Current and life-time experience of symptoms and treatment are assessed in each problem area. The clinical aim is to identify treatment needed in each of the eight subscales (Makela, 2004). ASI severity ratings ...


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...the complexity of the questions. Once a client’s psychosocial needs are identified it is easier to find treatment suitable for that client. There are some problems with the test such as it is not properly designed to cover such a wide population (Maleka, 2004). Other problems include irrelevant questions for alcoholics and other drug users, difficulty remembering relevant information, and lying and exaggerating information for the best interest of the patient (Maleka, 2004). Use of the ASI can be found to be particularly problematic when used with the homeless or double-diagnosis patients. The ASI can be used in a wide range of treatment settings including clinical, research, and administrative. This comprehensive evaluation is a useful tool that helps professionals understand the patient’s current situation and helps them find proper treatment for the patient.

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