Substance Use Treatment: Know Your Options
The use of substances, including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can significantly impact our bodies — and our lives. Without help, long-term substance misuse can have detrimental effects.
Because of the distress substance use disorder can cause in someone’s life, it’s essential to understand what substance use disorder is, the types of treatments available and how to find the right treatment program. Discover what substance misuse looks like, what treatments are available and how you or someone you love can get the right support.
Ready to take the first step toward recovery? Contact KVC to start intensive outpatient substance use treatment services.
What is Substance Use Disorder?
Substance use disorder (SUD) affects a person’s brain and behavior. Resulting from a pattern of long-term substance use, this disorder leads to the inability to control the use of substances and impacts individuals’ ability to function in day-to-day life. This disorder can range from mild to severe, causing treatment plans to vary.
There are many factors that can lead someone to struggle with substance use disorder, including genetics; the way they feel when they use the drug; peer pressure; anxiety, depression, or other emotional distress; and environmental stress. Many people who develop substance use disorder also have depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another mental illness.
“Substance use disorders are not always understood by the client’s family or the general public,” explains Jeremy Truman, Therapist at KVC West Virginia. Knowing what substances can be linked to substance use disorder, how it’s measured and when it’s treated as addiction can lead to better treatment results.
What Are Substances?
To understand substance use disorder, it helps to know why substances themselves are so addictive. Substances are medicinal or non-medicinal drugs that can potentially be addictive to the user. Substances come in various chemical make-ups, but they all produce pleasurable feelings causing a strong effect on the reward center of the brain. These substances can include:
- Cannabis (marijuana)
- Tobacco/Nicotine (including electronic cigarettes, Juul)
- Stimulants (Adderall or Ritalin, cocaine and methamphetamines)
- Opioids (oxycodone, codeine and heroin)
- Hypnotics, sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs (sleeping pills, benzodiazepines and barbiturates)
- Hallucinogens (PCP and LSD)
- Inhalants (paint thinners, aerosols, gasses and nitrites)
Substance Use Disorder vs. Addiction
Addiction is classified as the most severe form of substance use disorder. Both substance use disorder and addiction involve physical and psychological dependence, but addiction allows the reward center in the brain to take the lead and compulsively seek out the use of substances. The need or compulsion to use a substance is continued despite the negative consequences.
Because every person is different, there is no single biological or psychological cause of substance misuse. But for some people, there is a significant link between trauma and substance use. As the severity of substance use disorder and addiction varies from person to person, there are a variety of treatments available to help.
Substance Use Disorder Signs and Symptoms in Adults
Substance use disorder symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some may try to hide their symptoms and downplay their struggles. If you’re worried you, a friend or a family member may be misusing alcohol or drugs, look for the following signs and symptoms.
Note: substance use disorders affect every person differently. Not everyone will display every sign or symptom below. It’s important to talk to a doctor or a licensed mental health professional to accurately diagnose and address any questions you or your loved one may have.
- Attendance and performance problems at work or school
- Trouble concentrating
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
- Changes in appetite and/or sleep patterns
- Sudden mood swings, irritability, or anger
- Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
- Appearing fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason
- Feeling like you/they need a drug to be able to function
- Low self-esteem
- Bloodshot eyes and abnormally sized pupils
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Deterioration of physical appearance
- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
- Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
- Excessive fatigue
- Withdrawal from friends, family
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Legal problems related to substance use
- Unexplained financial problems
- Using substances even though it causes problems in relationships
But here’s the good news: substance use disorder is very treatable, and there is hope. If you or someone you love is struggling, you’re not alone. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the CDC indicates that 40.3 million Americans ages 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year.
Types of Substance Use Treatment
Are you or someone you care about struggling with substance use? A variety of treatment options exist, including inpatient and outpatient. and here are a few treatments options available:
Detoxification: Through a detox program, the client stops taking all substances and allows them to leave the body completely. Depending on the severity, a professional will advise on the best detox method after analysis. Detoxification programs are often inpatient at a clinic, hospital or special facility, and sometimes incorporate behavioral therapy or counseling.
Live-in or Inpatient Rehab: This kind of treatment provides a structured program and accountability for those recovering from substance use disorder and addiction. These programs involve individual and group therapies, group meetings, physical activities, meals and recreational outings.
Sober Living Programs: This type of treatment provides a drug and alcohol-free living environment for people in recovery. This safe, supportive atmosphere also empowers residents through accountability, with regular drug tests, house meetings and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP).
Intensive Outpatient Program: Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) offer flexible treatment for people needing support in substance use recovery. This treatment type does not require detoxification or round-the-clock supervision. IOPs enable individuals to continue with their normal, day-to-day lives in a way that residential treatment programs do not.
The client remains living at home, but participates in intensive individual and/or group therapy sessions and group meetings at a clinical location. Intensive outpatient programs are sometimes used in conjunction with inpatient programs as a way of helping clients to transition back to their families and communities, help with relapse management, and provide coping strategies.
Individual Therapy: Psychotherapies are used throughout many treatment plans and can be useful in residential and outpatient programs. Since there’s often a link between mental health conditions co-occurring alongside substance use disorder, evidence-based talk therapy treats mental health conditions and disorders while teaching coping skills.
Group Support and 12-Step Programs: Usually used as a continuation of treatment, group support systems and 12-step programs provide healthy opportunities to develop relationships and skills with people who have gone through similar experiences. These are safe spaces to talk freely about life and sobriety challenges. A few examples of these programs include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), etc.
Finding the Right Treatment Option
With the number of treatment options available, it isn’t always easy to find the best fit. But with the right treatment, clients can build a positive momentum toward recovery.
To find the best treatment plan, Truman recommends an assessment that measures specific indicators like the history of drug use, the severity of the substance disorder and other specific factors. Once the evaluation is complete, a treatment program will be recommended. Unless a specific treatment has been court-ordered, the client can decide to enter into their suggested program.
How KVC Can Help
Not only does KVC provide connections and community resources, but we also offer an array of supportive services. For clients looking for flexible substance use treatment, KVC facilitates an Intensive Outpatient Substance Use Treatment Program (IOP) for individuals ages 18 and older.
Truman explains that KVC’s IOP uses the Matrix Model of Addiction. This model focuses on early recovery skills and relapse prevention. It also incorporates support from family and community support groups. “A key factor of the program is the advantage of family education and involvement in group sessions. Keeping them involved yields better results for the client,” says Truman.
As a 12-week program for those struggling with substance misuse who are not at risk for withdrawal, but need more than typical outpatient therapy, KVC’s IOP is a great option for people looking toward a future free of addiction. One-on-one therapy sessions, along with group counseling sessions, allow clients to experience success as they work to overcome substance misuse.