Addiction Severity Index – ASI

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Addiction is a disease that affects millions of people in the United States on a regular basis. And while this is a widespread public health concern, it is also an issue that is unique to each and every person who struggles with it. That is why it is imperative that those who seek addiction treatment are not viewed as a one-size-fits-all, because they are anything but. Utilizing the Addiction Severity Index, also known as the ASI allows our team at Ambrosia Treatment Center to hone in on the specific needs of each client.

What is the Addiction Severity Index?

The Addiction Severity Index, or ASI, is an assessment tool professional use to help gauge how severe a person’s addiction is. It does this by taking note of several different aspects of a person’s life to better determine how deeply their addiction has affected their overall wellbeing. 

The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) can be utilized for diagnostic purposes by psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. It was first developed in 1980 and has remained one of the top assessment tools for professionals treating individuals with substance use disorders. At Ambrosia Treatment Center, our team of trained mental health professionals are cleared to utilize the ASI during the diagnostic part of a client’s care. We value the benefits of the ASI, as they allow us to gain a full understanding of the client’s environment and relationship to mind-altering substances so that we can craft a customized treatment plan for them. 

Diagnostic Criteria of the Addiction Severity Index (ASI)

The Addiction Severity Index is highly detailed, allowing for mental health professionals to uncover as much about the client as possible. The individual providing the ASI testing will focus on six different categories, as follows:

  1. Medical status
  2. Employment/support status
  3. Alcohol/drug use
  4. Legal status
  5. Family/social relationships
  6. Psychiatric status

With each of those categories comes a set of questions to help scale the severity of the client’s substance use disorder:

Medical Status

  • How many times in your life have you been hospitalized for medical problems?
  • How long ago was your last hospitalization for a physical problem?
  • Do you have any chronic medical problems that continue to interfere with your life?
  • Are you taking any prescribed medication on a regular basis for a physical problem?
  • Do you receive a pension for a physical disability?
  • How many days have you experienced medical problems in the past 30 days?

Employment/Support Status

  • How long was your longest full-time job?
  • Usual (or last) occupation?
  • Does someone contribute to your support in any way?
  • Does this constitute the majority of your support?
  • Usual employment pattern for the past three years?
  • How many days were you paid for working in the past 30 days?
  • How much money did you receive from:
    • Employment
    • Unemployment compensation
    • Welfare
    • Pensions, benefits, or Social Security
    • Mate, family, or friends
    • Illegal
  • How many people depend on you for the majority of their shelter, food, etc?
  • How many days have you experienced employment problems in the last 30 days?

Alcohol/Drug Use

  • Route of administration?
  • What drugs/alcohol have you used in the past 30 days?
  • How long was your last period of voluntary abstinence from this major substance?
  • How many times have you been treated for drug/alcohol abuse?
  • What amount were detox only?
  • How much money have you spent on alcohol/drugs in the past 30 days?

Legal Status

  • Are you on parole or probation?
  • How many times have you been charged with:
    • Shoplifting/vandalism
    • Parole/probation violations
    • Drug charges
    • Forgery
    • Weapons offense
    • Burglary/larceny/breaking and entering
    • Robbery
  • How many times in your life have you been charged with:
    • Disorderly conduct, vagrancy, public intoxication
    • Driving while intoxicated
    • Major driving violations
  • How many months have you been incarcerated in your life?
  • How serious do you feel your present legal problems are?

Family/Social Relationships

  • Have any of your family members had what you would call a significant drinking, drug use, or psychiatric problem?
  • What are your usual living arrangements?
  • Do you live with anyone who has a current alcohol/drug problem?
  • With whom do you spend your most free time?
  • How many close friends do you have?
  • Have you had significant periods in which you have experienced serious problems getting along with any family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.?
  • Has anyone ever abused you?

Psychiatric Status

  • How many times have you been treated for any psychological or emotional problems?
  • Have you ever had a significant period of time where you experienced:
    • Serious depression
    • Serious anxiety
    • Hallucinations
    • Trouble understanding, concentrating, or remembering
    • Trouble controlling violent behavior
    • Thoughts of suicide
    • Attempted suicie
    • Being prescribed medication for any psychological or emotional problems
  • How many days in the past 30 days have you experienced these psychological or emotional problems?

These are just some of the questions that clients are asked when a mental health professional at Ambrosia is conducting an ASI. There are several additional questions to help further understand the severity of one’s substance use disorder. In general, it takes approximately one hour for the ASI to be conducted. 

Our Addiction Severity Index (ASI) for South Florida Treatment

The Addiction Severity Index is done in a one-on-one setting with a mental health professional at our South Florida treatment facility. While the questions are predetermined, the interview is informal and conversational. This approach allows all involved to feel comfortable. 

The responses provided by the clients are recorded using a 10-point scale, with zero being the least severe and 9 being the most severe. The information collected is then utilized by Ambrosia to:

  • Understand the status of an individual upon intake
  • Create a treatment plan customized to the needs of the individual
  • Get a general idea of the recovery progress

Once this information is collected, clinicians have a much better idea of the individual’s needs and strengths upon entering treatment. 

If you or your loved one are ready to start your road to recovery in South Florida, visit our admissions page to get started today.

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