Substance Abuse Treatment
A substance use disorder is when a person keeps using a substance despite physical, emotional, or social problems.
Common items that are misused are:
- Prescription medicines, such as steroids, opioid pain relievers, sedatives, sleeping pills, and amphetamines.
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
- Having other people in the family with substance use problems
- Having mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder , anxiety , depression , bipolar disorder , or panic disorder
- Social and peer pressure to use substances
- Early antisocial behavior, such as breaking the law or repeated lying
- Easy access to substances
- Lack of parent involvement
Problems may be:
Poor control of the substance, such as:
- Taking it in much higher amounts for a longer time
- Problems trying to cut down or stop using it
- Spending large amounts of time getting or using it, or recovering from using it
- Craving it
- Repeated work, school, home, or relationship problems due to substance use
- Using the substance even though it means risking physical safety, or knowing it will make existing physical or mental problems worse
- Repeated trouble with the law, such as driving while under the influence of a substance or stealing to get the substance
There is no cure. The goals are to:
- Help a person stop using the substance
- Decrease the toxins from the person's body to ease effects and help with withdrawal
- Prevent the person from using again
It can take a long time to recover. Many people may need to be treated several times. It may include one or more of the following:
Medicines may be given to ease withdrawal symptoms and lower the risk of using again.
Therapy can help a person learn about the issues and lifestyle choices that lead to substance use. This can help a person learn coping and problem-solving skills. A person can also learn how to replace substance-using behaviors with healthier choices. A person's family should be involved in treatment to provide support.
There are many organizations and support groups that can help people become substance-free, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous. Members meet often to talk about their misuse problems and their recovery.
To lower the risk of this problem:
- Learn about the risks from substance use.
- Do not spend time with people who use.
- Learn ways to handle peer pressure.
- Teach children about the dangers of using substances.
- Seek therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder , anxiety , depression , and other mental health problems.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services
All rights reserved.
a (Drug Abuse; Drug Addiction; Drug Dependence)
Narcotics Anonymous https://www.na.org
National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health http://www.camh.ca
Narcotics Anonymous http://www.torontona.org
Drugs, brains, and behavior: The science of addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-abuse-addiction. Accessed September 2, 2020.
Kampman K, Jarvis M. American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use. J Addict Med. 2015 Sep-Oct;9(5):358-367.
Opioid abuse and dependence. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/opioid-abuse-and-dependence . Accessed September 2, 2020.
Treatment approaches for drug addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction. Accessed September 2, 2020.