This profile on a 21-year-old female with the FVA and FVOD, based on the last 12 months, is interesting primarily because it is so unusual.
As you look at the profile graph, all the scale scores are within the norm, i.e., between the 15th and 85th percentiles except for the SYM score which is above the 85th percentile. This tells you that she is acknowledging symptoms and consequences of her use and indicates she is associating with friends or family who are also heavy users. This is a bit of a contrast to her FVA and FVOD scores, both of which are above average but not above the 85th percentile.
The SAT score of 5 is within the norm which is a positive – no denial or lack of awareness or insight is indicated. However, with the OAT score within the norm, it is a possibility that she does not identify with other substance users and those characteristics we associate with substance users such as impatience, self-pity, resentment, or impulsivity. If marijuana is her primary drug, she may not see it as a problem so the high probability of a substance use disorder may be an unexpected result for the client.
Another positive is the DEF score, which is above average but not clinically significant since it is below the 85th percentile.
The client meets decision rules 5, 6 and 9 and 10 thus meeting the criteria for a high probability of a substance use disorder. As a reminder, more rules that are met does not mean a more severe problem. As we often mention on the clinical helpline, the diagnosis and severity of a substance use disorder is based on the criteria in the DSM-5.
Note the Prescription Drug Scale score of 2. It does not meet the cut-off criteria for prescription drug abuse, but it is worth a look at those items she endorsed.
The caller was puzzled by the RAP score of 2 and how it affected the result of the SASSI.
A RAP score of 2 or more always needs to be explored, preferably with the client. The two items which posed the problem were ‘I never have been picked on and I have never been sad’.
Cultural and language contexts need to be considered for possible reasons the client answered as she did. The possibility of her deliberately trying to ‘skew’ the questionnaire is low given the high probability result. More likely, the client answered accurately for her based on her life experience.
The clinician can now safely accept the overall result as valid.
As a reminder, the free clinical helpline, (800-726-0526) is available M-F, 12- 5 pm (EST) for any questions you may have. We also offer a free Q&A zoom meeting once a month for an hour as well. Please check the blog notice for dates and time to register. And finally, if you have additional inquiries, please contact the Clinical Director, Kristin Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.