Treatment in an Inpatient Setting


When patients first arrive at an inpatient drug treatment facility, they often must undergo diagnostic testing during the intake process. From the perspective of an individual embarking on drug treatment, such diagnostic testing can at first appear invasive, potentially judging or unnecessary. However, diagnostic testing at inpatient drug treatment facilities creates an opportunity for addiction staff to obtain a baseline for customized treatment and maximized physical, emotional and mental recovery from drug addiction. From aiding the drug detoxification process to spotlighting the need for dual diagnosis treatment, diagnostic testing can provide patients – and their treating staff – with the information necessary to achieve full and lasting sobriety.

Types of Diagnostic Testing Performed During Inpatient Drug Treatment


Diagnostic testing at inpatient drug treatment facilities often includes a series of noninvasive physical and mental health tests aimed at understanding the patient’s physical and psychological well-being at the outset of drug addiction treatment. Below we’ve provided an overview of common diagnostic tests performed during drug treatment.

Drug Testing

Drug testing allows addiction treatment staff to become apprised of any drugs present in the patient’s system – including those that may have been ingested through legitimate prescriptions or unwittingly due to patient forgetfulness, drug combinations or drug lacing. By understanding the chemicals present in the system, treating medical staff can safely work to anticipate and reduce drug withdrawal symptoms and guard against potential drug interactions, treatment side effects and complications during detoxification.

Psychological Diagnostic Testing

One of the most important forms of diagnostic testing during drug treatment is psychological diagnostic testing. Many cases of “dual diagnosis” exist in the drug treatment field, in cases where drugs have been used to self-medicate undiagnosed mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or mania. Conversely, some cases of drug addiction can initiate, trigger or exacerbate mental health conditions, particularly in the withdrawal phase of recovery. Allowing psychologists, counselors and physicians to become aware of any complicating psychological issues permits more targeted treatment, relief of mental health symptoms, and the prescription of antidepressants, anxiolytic or anti-psychotic medications as necessary. Learning disabilities, eating disorders or other functional and process issues can also be uncovered during the psychological diagnostic phase of treatment.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing

Due to the lowering of inhibitions during drug addiction, as well as the possibility of intravenous drug use, blood-borne diseases are tested for in many drug treatment facilities. This allows patients to gain vital knowledge about their HIV status, and receive (often curative) treatment for other sexually transmitted or blood-borne diseases.

Physical Exam and Medical Diagnostic Testing

Depending on the resources of the drug treatment facility, a physical exam replete with medical diagnostic tests may also be required. This process allows physicians to become aware of organ health and potential cardiac or respiratory issues that may complicate detoxification. Medical diagnostic tests also measure important blood levels, through exams that test cholesterol, thyroid function, and vital nutritional, chemical and functional levels throughout the body. Because of the damage that drugs can cause to virtually all systems of the body, this process of physical examination and diagnostic testing provides both a means to recovery through correction of nutritional imbalances, expedient treatment of coexisting physical conditions and healing for physical problems caused by prolonged drug addiction.