American Society of Addiction Medicine ASAM Criteria

by Feb 12, 2021Blog0 comments

The ASAM Criteria is the most widely used and comprehensive set of guidelines for placement, continued stay, transfer, or discharge of patients with addiction and co-occurring conditions. The cornerstone of the ASAM Criteria is a multi (six) – dimensional appraisal that yields a holistic, biopsychosocial profile of the individual that is used for planning and treatment.

The first portion of this multidimensional assessment involves exploring an individual’s past and current experiences of substance use and withdrawal (Dimension 1). Next is research of the individual’s health history and current physical condition (Dimension 2).

Following the foregoing analysis of the resident’s physical condition, the administering professional conducts an assessment of the individual’s thoughts, emotions, and mental health is done, including the individual’s readiness and interest in change (Dimensions 3 and 4). Many individuals arrive in recovery because they are forced to, are frightened, and/or want to get back what they have lost. While these are strong motivating factors, the individual’s success in recovery is predicated on a willingness to have a different life.

Dimensions 5 and 6 of the ASAM Criteria assessment consist of an exploration of the individual’s unique relationship with relapse, continued substance use, or associated problems. In this portion of the assessment the objective is to expose those elements of the individual’s psycho-social condition that may affect their recovery. These elements include but are not limited to a sense of victimhood and/or low self-worth, family triggers, and unwillingness to remove one’s self from familiar settings that compromise their sobriety.

Multiple studies indicate that use of and treatment based on the ASAM Criteria is significantly more effective than generic, non person-centered treatment. Heartland House implemented the ASAM Criteria in 2016.

For in-depth information on the ASAM Criteria, please see:

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