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To Diagnose or Not To Diagnose

Hi Everyone, McRISC continues to research the impact of Substance Use Disorders (SUD) on the people who suffer with them. This includes illnesses, lost relationships, jobs, and homes, plus the loss of dignity caused by the biased attitudes that it's all their fault and they could have avoided it.

But, the burning question is: how can someone avoid their substance addiction if they do not know that they may have the potential to get caught in this life-shattering, deadly disease in the first place? Imagine if no one was told that obesity could lead to diabetes, and then when someone got the disease they were told it was their own fault because they ate too much sugar. What if primary care providers only asked people how much they ate during the day without checking their blood sugar levels to see if they were at risk, or had diabetes?  

This is what happens during many substance addiction screenings. Some screenings are as short as 1-4 questions. How can this answer if someone has an acute Substance Use Disorder (SUD) when diagnosing is based on having at least 2 out of 11 different problem areas? (DSM-V: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Psychiatric Illnesses) What are the odds that those few questions just happen to cover every persons' symptoms? 

Here's a one-question screening that has been used by primary care providers: "How many times in the past year have you used an illegal drug or used a prescription medication for non-medical reasons?" The research conclusion of this screening tool stated it was 100% accurate for the detection of a current Substance Use Disorder. Really?

Furthermore, even if they do have SUD, how well can we tell the severity of the illness? Do they need help every day, once a week, out-patient, or residential? Do they need medication and which kind? It's impossible to know. Yet, that's how this illness is being assessed by many primary care treatment providers. McRISC© addresses this problem with its 10-minute, online assessment that looks at current AND lifelong evidence-based risk factors, to predict the risk of getting the disease and to inform treatment. Please spread the word by sharing this with your friends, families, and those who have been touched by this disease. Like and share our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages. Thank-you and stay tuned, Joyce Ann McGinn


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