When a person’s substance use begins to cause problems in their day-to-day life, they may have a substance use disorder. Many people hesitate to seek treatment for a substance use disorder because they want to avoid the stigma associated with it. Society tends to judge people with substance use disorders; treating them like their illness is a moral failing. However, a substance use disorder is generally not a choice any person makes. More often than not, it stems from several issues in someone’s life or other unique factors.
People with a substance use disorder must be treated as we treat anyone else with a mental or physical illness: appropriate medical and therapeutic treatment, compassion, and understanding. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we treat the whole person to provide our clients with the best chance at lasting sobriety.
What is a Substance Use Disorder?
A substance use disorder is considered a progressive disease. A person may begin to use substances for many reasons, but some become physically and mentally dependent on the substance. This dependence may begin to cause problems in the person’s life as their substance use consumes time, money, and harms relationships. When the person cannot stop using the substance even though their use has had severe consequences, they may have a substance use disorder.
Once a person begins using a substance in a chronic, abusive way, they may experience severe mental and physical health consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that substance abuse contributes to:
A substance use disorder often starts at a young age. The National Survey of Drug Use and Health found that in 2018, 8% of people ages 12-17 had used illicit drugs in the past month. In the same time period, 10.1% of people ages 26 and older had used illicit drugs. Many people who use substances at an older age have drug use habits rooted in childhood.
How Are Substance Use Disorders Treated?
Each person’s substance use disorder is unique, and treatment at Everlast will account for this. People may begin by going through a detox program in which they stop using substances and may receive prescriptions for medications to help them with their withdrawal symptoms.
These disorders also require therapy to treat other issues that contributed to their addiction. Without some form of therapy, people are more likely to relapse. Treatment can take place in several levels of care:
Clients attend appointments with a therapist or counselor. They may also have group therapy sessions.
They do not need to be monitored for safety or health between appointments and do not live at the facility where the clinical treatment is provided.
In an intensive outpatient program, the client has several intensive group therapy sessions every week.
Similar to outpatient, they do not live at the facility where the treatment is provided. Clients in intensive outpatient need more intensive treatment than less frequent outpatient sessions.
Clients spend most of the day in therapy, and other activities then go home at the end of the day.
They need intensive treatment but do not need around-the-clock care.
Clients in a residential level of care need treatment in a controlled setting.
They receive treatment for most of the day and live at the facility where the clinical programming is provided. These clients may be in the early stages of recovery or may be at a high risk for relapse.
Clients who need medically managed intensive inpatient have severe mental or physical health issues that require medical care.
They will need medically managed inpatient treatment until they are considered stable by a team of medical professionals.
Treatment for Substance Use Disorders
In treating patients with substance use disorders, therapists can choose from many different modalities of therapy. This allows them to provide individualized treatment to ensure their client is getting the best care possible. For example, some clinicians may use modalities that focus on treating trauma, while others use therapy that addresses behavioral changes.
The following types of therapy show effectiveness in research studies and are accepted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as treatments for a substance use disorder:
This treatment begins with the understanding that many of a person’s problems come from their thoughts or behaviors. The client learns to recognize incorrect or unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. Once identified, they get replaced with other, more useful ones.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can work with many conditions, including anger management, co-dependency and unhealthy relationships, and addictive behaviors.
This intensive form of therapy originated to treat people with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. However, it is now used and shown effective for treating many other disorders. In dialectical behavior therapy, the client learns mindfulness as a coping skill, practices nonjudgement of feelings or experiences, and learns to manage emotions and tolerate stress in a more positive way.
People receiving this form of therapy may also need to learn life skills such as maintaining healthy relationships and managing day-to-day stress.
Because so many people with substance use disorders also have a history of trauma or have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, therapists use treatments that help people lessen the effects of trauma on their lives. Many forms of therapy can work with trauma, and the therapist and client will choose the best course of treatment for trauma and addiction.
This type of therapy helps people learn psychological flexibility, the ability to adapt and accept when situations change.
Therapists teach mindfulness skills, acceptance, and commitment to working toward personal values.
Several alternative therapies are shown to be effective in conjunction with traditional therapeutic modalities, including art and music therapy, mindfulness, yoga, and meditation.
The benefit of these complementary therapies is that they can help reduce a person’s anxiety as well as teach them emotional regulation skills.
Substance Abuse Treatment at Everlast
At Everlast Recovery Centers, our residential program lets people experience different types of therapy to find what is most appropriate for their treatment in the early recovery process. Each client will work one-on-one with a trained clinician to choose the best tools to use for their individual recovery and the issues to work on in therapy.
In our program, our clients thrive on the clinical care and attention provided by our individualized treatment model. Whether they have a substance use disorder or a dual diagnosis, we guide our clients to engage in the treatment methods that will be the most successful for their long-term recovery.