During the admissions process for drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment, psychological testing and evaluation is conducted in order to determine several things. Among them are the patient’s pre-disposition to drug use and abuse, the underlying factors that contribute to drug and alcohol abuse, and to determine if any co-occurring disorders exist. While these are not the only areas evaluated, they are the most dominant.
While psychological testing and evaluation is used in conjunction with interviews, the data gathered from the tests is considered a more valid indicator than that that from the interview process, primarily because:
It is easier to uncover important information through testing rather than through interviews – Testing removes the personal bias and interpretation an interviewer may have. While the information and observations recorded in an interview are helpful, they are more valid when used to reinforce the findings from testing and evaluation procedures, rather than the other way around.
The information from the tests is more scientifically accurate than that from interviews – Interviews are appropriate for gathering information to arrive at a diagnosis (or diagnoses), but standardized testing procedures allows for a better comparison and analysis of data. When coupled with the information gathered during the interview, a more complete picture is created and a better treatment program can be developed.
It is more difficult to lie on a test than during an interview – Formal psychological testing and evaluation procedures have checks built in that offset attempts to lie or misrepresent the full extent of addiction and its attendant issues. Because of the stigma attached to addiction and alcoholism, many interviewees while try to manipulate their answers in an attempt to mitigate the severity of the addiction, or to present themselves in a fashion that downplays their addiction and its effects.
While the interview period is necessary to arrive at a general diagnosis, and to provide part of the framework for developing a treatment program, psychological testing and evaluation must be conducted in order to create the most effective therapy for the patient.