Is a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility Required to Do Certain Health Screenings?

When you sign up for addiction help in a drug and alcohol treatment facility, you’ll go through a complete intake process. One part of this process will include a health screening that’s designed to evaluate your physical and emotional health, which gives the staff a full understanding of your overall health. Even though this may not be a legal requirement in some states, most facilities do conduct this evaluation as a means of determining your needs. Failing to gain a comprehensive understanding of your health condition can lead to errors that could make your health decline even worse, so the health screening is primarily to give you the best possible treatment.

Additionally, some medical conditions cause pain that will need to be controlled throughout your rehab program. In the beginning, this may require prescribing strictly controlled doses of pain medication, but, as you go through the treatment program, you’ll learn alternative methods for controlling pain. Since the withdrawal symptoms of addiction can affect respiration and cardiovascular functioning, the health screening will also help the caregivers in the addiction treatment facility evaluate the strength of these biological systems. For instance, someone with an irregular heartbeat or hypertension will need to be monitored more closely than someone with a healthier cardiovascular system.

The health screenings you undergo are also required if you’re relying on Medicaid or Medicare to help you pay for treatment. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has regulations in place that require drug and alcohol treatment facilities to perform comprehensive health screenings. In order to provide coverage, CMS wants a thorough examination conducted with those results used to develop a treatment plan for the individual. The treatment facility should be able to use the screening to show which types of treatment and therapies the individual requires to begin recovery. This also helps the recovering addict by ensuring they won’t be kept in the treatment facility after treatment has become ineffective in helping them. By requiring regular screenings throughout the treatment process, CMS ensures the recovering addict is released upon achieving a state at which they can primarily manage their sobriety on their own.

How a Health Screening Aids in Recovery

There is another reason drug and alcohol treatment facilities require health screenings upon admission. The screening helps in offering the addict all of the services they will need to fully recover, including providing therapy for mental and emotional illnesses. Often addiction can cause or result from the development of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The individual uses drugs or alcohol to compensate for unwanted feelings. The substance abuse helps them self-medicate, whether or not they realize that’s what they’re doing. Unfortunately, their brain will become accustomed to the influx of chemicals and, instead of creating a euphoric feeling, the same dosage of the substance only maintains their current emotional state. This means they will have to use the drugs or alcohol more frequently and in greater doses to achieve the desired euphoric state.

Studies on addiction and mental illnesses, called co-occurring conditions, have found that failing to treat the mental illness leads to a rapid relapse for many recovering addicts. As the underlying emotional health problem still exists, the addict has an increased risk of relapsing once they leave the treatment facility. They’re no longer living under the strict rules of the treatment program, and they will find a need to self-medicate once again. This is why most treatment centers offer mental health therapy alongside addiction treatment. When mental and emotional health problems are identified through the initial intake process and the health screening, the facility’s staff can develop a treatment program that addresses all of those issues. For many recovering addicts, this will be the first time their emotional health problem is properly diagnosed and treated. That takes away the motivation to relapse, and it provides the individual with proper treatment. As a result, they will feel healthier and take a greater interest in maintaining a clean and sober lifestyle. In this way, health screenings help addiction treatment centers improve their rates of success, ensuring more individuals stay clean for longer after leaving the facility.

When you’re ready to begin a comprehensive drug or alcohol addiction treatment program, call us at 833-820-2922. Our counselors are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions you may have about treatment and the initial intake process. We can help you get started on the road to recovery, so you can begin living a clean and sober lifestyle in the near future.