ADS Scale Description

Truthfulness Scale

Self-report tests and interviews are subject to the danger of respondents not telling the truth. An important advance in testing is the Truthfulness Scale, which measures how honest the client is while completing the test. It would be naive to believe that all people taking tests always answer questions truthfully. Truthfulness Scales identify self-protective and guarded people who attempt to deny, minimize or even conceal information. These scales can also detect functionally illiterate and visually impaired individuals. This feature is of special importance in court-related and treatment settings, since the outcome of a person's test results could affect their level of supervision, nature of intervention and life situation. The Truthfulness Scale identifies attempts to fake or under report problems and concerns.

Alcohol Scale

Measures alcohol use and the severity of abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine and other liquor. An elevated (70 to 89th percentile) Alcohol Scale score is indicative of an emerging drinking problem. An Alcohol Scale score in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range identifies serious drinking problems.

In intervention and treatment settings, the individual’s Alcohol Scale score helps staff work through client problems. Most people accept the objective and standardized Alcohol Scale score as accurate and relevant in comparison to a person’s subjective opinion. This is particularly true when it is explained that elevated scores don’t occur by chance. The individual must answer a definite pattern of alcohol-related admissions for elevated scores to occur.

Drug Scale

Measures illicit (non-prescription) and licit (prescription) drug use and as warranted - abuse. Provides strong accountability of results. Drugs refer to prescription and non-prescription drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, crack, ice, amphetamines, barbiturates, heroin, etc. These are illicit substances. An elevated (70 to 89th percentile) Drug Scale score is indicative of an emerging drug problem. A Drug Scale score in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range identifies serious illicit drug abusers.

In intervention and treatment settings, the individual’s Drug Scale score helps staff work through client denial. And an elevated Drug Scale score in conjunction with other elevated scale scores magnifies the severity of the other elevated scores. Note: some states have legalized marijuana use. In summary, the Drug Scale can be interpreted independently or in conjunction with other elevated scales.

Stress Management Scale

Measures how well the individual copes with stress. It is now known that stress exacerbates symptoms of mental and emotional problems. Thus, an elevated Stress Management Scale score, in conjunction with other elevated scale scores helps explain the individual’s situation. For example, when a person doesn’t handle stress well, other existing problems are exacerbated.

An elevated Stress Management Scale score can also exacerbate emotional and mental health symptomatology. When a Stress Management Scale score is in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range, it is likely that the individual has a diagnosable mental health problem. Lower elevated scores suggest less intensive referral alternatives like a stress management program. In summary, the Stress Management Scale can be interpreted independently or in conjunction with other elevated scales.

Substance Use Disorder Scale

DSM-5 Substance Use Disorder severity is based upon the number of the 11 DSM-5 symptom criteria endorsed. DSM-5 combines both alcohol and drugs in its DSM-5 substance use scale.

  1. Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than intended.
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to.
  3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.
  4. Cravings and urges to use the substance.
  5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home or school, because of substance use.
  6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships.
  7. Giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of substance use.
  8. Using substances again and again, even when repeated use puts you in danger.
  9. Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that was caused or made worse by the substance.
  10. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance).
  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) states there can be exceptions to DSM classifications -- and these exceptions are made according to the severity of a person’s substance abuse. The severity of a person’s substance abuse determines their recommended level of intervention and/or treatment. The ADS Alcohol Scale and Drug Scale independently assess the severity of alcohol (drinking) and drug (licit and illicit) problems.

In summary, the Alcohol and Drugs Scales measure severity of substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, whereas the DSM-5 Substance Use Disorder Scale classifies people as no problem, mild, moderate, problem or severe substance use disorder.

At one sitting of approximately 20 minutes duration, staff can acquire a vast amount of specific client information which includes alcohol-related problems, drug-related problems, substance abuse severity and stress management skills. Early problem identification facilitates timely intervention and improved treatment outcomes.