What Happens during a Chemical Dependency Evaluation?

A Licensed Addiction Counselor Explains the Process
You're worth it.

Substance use is something that impacts people from all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 10.2 percent of Americans battled a substance use disorder in 2020. That's 28.3 million people. Has a family member raised concerns about your substance use, or has your use interfered with your personal relationships and job? Maybe you've noticed that your chemical dependency is problematic and you're tired of choosing to numb your pain with a temporary fix, rather than acquire skills that will help you lead a fulfilling and healthy life. 

Fear of failure, uncertainty, unmet expectations, and change can hold us back from pursuing recovery. Recovery isn't easy, but the benefits that follow will change your attitude, relationships, and life for the better.

Understanding Chemical Dependency Evaluations

When you decide that recovery is right for you, you'll find that the starting point in seeking treatment at First Step Recovery is to undergo an evaluation or assessment. Clinical Supervisor Tonya Sorenson, MS, LAC, answers frequently asked questions about taking this first step of coming in for a chemical dependency evaluation.

What is the purpose of an evaluation?

Clients come to us when they might feel their substance use is interfering in their life. Clients can be referred by themselves, family members, social services, probation, court, or employers, just to name a few. These evaluation can be court-ordered, DUI related, or for anyone who is just curious about their chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol. We don’t judge on how our clients come through our doors; anyone can be successful if they choose. 

What should I do to prepare for my evaluation?

Paperwork will be provided to you from our client services team before your evaluation. We ask that you complete this paperwork, as it helps us understand what is bringing you to First Step. If clients struggle with the paperwork, they can always come to our facility and have one of our client services team members help out. Please know that we understand coming through the doors can be scary, but it can also be life-changing.

What happens during an evaluation? 

When you come to First Step, you will be checked in by our client services team. You will meet with a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), who will go over your history, looking at all areas of your life and how they may be impacted by your substance use. This is different than a therapy session. As we are gathering information, our hope is to get a client into services to explore the depths of their chemical dependency and struggles. 

What happens after my evaluation? 

After an initial assessment is completed, several members of the clinical team help analyze the results of the chemical dependency evaluation. This ensures that we are making a team decision on your care. If services are recommended, we will help establish treatment or provide appropriate referrals in the community. Whether a client ends up receiving services from us or not, we will help with referrals. 

How long does it take?

From start to finish, a chemical dependency evaluation will be no more than two hours. If we are not able to give treatment recommendations right away, we would then schedule a treatment recommendation session free of charge.

Am I being judged?

We never judge at First Step. We recognize addiction is a disease that impacts all walks of life. Everyone has an individualized treatment plan with client input; we want our clients to feel like they are in the driver’s seat.

What are the costs?

The costs are dependent on the type of insurance you may have and the services you receive. If you don’t have insurance, we can explore options or help establish Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Voucher money through the state of North Dakota. Everyone’s situation is different, and our business department will guide you every step of the way.

What happens if for some reason I don't follow through with treatment?

If clients are not ready or able to follow through with treatment recommendations, we always keep the door open. We understand treatment is a huge time commitment and not something to take lightly. We want our clients to explore the options with their loved ones and make sure they know that all they have to do is reach out when they are ready.

Adults who struggle with drug or alcohol use can find the education, support, and therapy they need at First Step Recovery. At First Step, we believe that everyone is capable of long-term recovery, and our Licensed Addiction Counselors and medical staff are here to walk alongside you in your recovery journey every step of the way. To schedule a substance use evaluation or chemical dependency assessment, or to talk with somebody about our programs, call 701-451-4900 or contact us online today. 
*Originally posted January 2021.

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