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Drug Abuse and Dependence - Exams and Tests

Drug abuse and dependence may be diagnosed during a routine doctor visit or when you see your doctor for a health or other problem linked to drug use, such as anxiety, depression, or family conflict. If your partner or a friend suspects a drug problem, he or she may urge you to see your doctor.

Testing to see if you have a drug problem

If you think you or a loved one might have a drug problem, use this short quiz to check for drug use:

Assess Your Drug Use(What is a PDF document?)

Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and past health and will do a physical exam. If your doctor thinks you have a drug problem, he or she may ask about current and past drug use. He or she also may ask if it's okay to give you a test to check for drug use, such as a urine or blood test.

Your doctor may ask to give you tests to look for health problems related to drug abuse. These may include tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV.

If you and your doctor agree that you have a drug problem, your doctor probably will refer you to a specialist in drug abuse or dependence.

Testing for mental health problems

People who use drugs also may have mental health problems. These include depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If your doctor thinks this may be true for you, he or she may do a mental health assessment.

If you use drugs and have a mental health problem, it's called a dual diagnosis. If you treat only one problem, treatment may not work well. When you treat both problems, you have a better chance of a full recovery and less chance of using drugs again.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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