A method for assessing treatment history and cost for substance use disorder

Joseph J Westermeyer, Paul Thuras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: First, to describe a combined qualitative and quantitative method for describing and measuring past treatment of Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Second, to use this method in assessing whether lifetime treatment is related to age, duration of substance use, or severity of SUD. DESIGN: Retrospective descriptive data with blinded assessments. SETTING: Alcohol-Drug Programs located within university departments of psychiatry in 2 centers. SUBJECTS: Six hundred forty-two patients with SUD. METHODS: Data collection instruments included: RESULTS: Treatment modality, admissions, days in treatment, and cost all correlated highly with each other but at various levels from moderate to strong correlations. Severity of SUD, rather than age or duration of substance use, predicted the treatment outcomes most strongly. This was true whether treatment severity was assessed by the patient or by an interviewer using a scheduled interview instrument. Global psychosocial impairment over the previous year was also associated with 3 out of 4 treatment variables. CONCLUSIONS: This method of assessing lifetime SUD treatment is feasible and shows strong reliability with self-rated SUD severity and validity with interviewer and psychiatrist ratings. Severity of SUD is correlated with lifetime types and quantity of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalAddictive Disorders and their Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006


  • Cost
  • Morbidity
  • Treatment

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