Home Blog Recovery News ASAM CRITERIA



The ASAM criteria are the most widely used and comprehensive set of guidelines for assessment, service planning, placement, continued stay and transfer/discharge of patients with addiction. Use of the ASAM criteria is required in over 30 states. Using the criteria, patients can become active participants in their own care and learn about the different options for treatment. It also allows treatment providers to assess the patient’s risks and needs to focus on during recovery. The criteria provide separate placement guidelines for adolescents and adults in order to create comprehensive and individualized treatment plans.

There are six dimensions of assessment:

  • Acute Intoxication and Withdrawal – Explores the patients past and current experiences of substance use and withdrawal and looks at the risk for severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Bio-Medical Conditions and Complications – Looks for current physical illnesses or chronic conditions, other than withdrawal, that needs to be addressed or that may complicate treatment?  
  • Cognitive, Behavioral, and Emotional Conditions – Examines psychiatric illnesses or psychological, behavioral, emotional or cognitive problems that might affect treatment
  • Readiness / Motivation – Asks what the patient’s motivation and commitment to change will be and how willing they are to cooperate
  • Relapse, Continued Use, Continued Problem – cope with his or her addictive or mental disorder in order to prevent relapse, continued use or continued problems such as suicidal behavior? 3. How aware is the patient of relapse triggers, ways to cope with cravings to use, and skills to control impulses to use or impulses to harm self or others?
  • Recovery Environment – Looks at things that might impact continuing recovery, such as family members, living and work environments, financial resources

There are different levels of treatment as well. Level 0.5 is early intervention, targeting individuals who are at risk of developing a substance-related problem but may not have a diagnosed substance abuse disorder. Level 1 is outpatient services. This involves less than nine hours of therapy weekly for adults and less than six for adolescents and can include individual and group counseling, motivational enhancement, family therapy, educational groups, occupational and recreational therapy, psychotherapy, and more. Level 2 is intensive outpatient (nine to nineteen hours of weekly structured programs for adults or six to nineteen hours for adolescents) and partial hospitalization, which provides 20 hours or more of clinically intensive programs each week for patients who need daily monitoring and management in a structured outpatient setting. Level 3 is inpatient or residential services. There are four sublevels of varying intensities and with different levels of medical monitoring. Level 4 is medically managed intensive inpatient programs, for patients with medical, emotional, behavioral and/or cognitive conditions severe enough to require a licensed physician in a hospital-like setting.  There are also five levels of withdrawal management, which vary all the way from outpatient services that can take place at the patient’s home to 24-hour observation in a hospital.

If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949-438-4504).



You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *