Drug Abuse Information: Substance Use Signs, Treatment Options (2022)

Substance Abuse: An Introduction

From prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications to street drugs and alcohol, virtually any drug can be abused. While illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine are abused any time they are used, prescription drugs are abused whenever they are used in a manner other than as intended, or by someone other than to whom they were prescribed. In 2013, approximately 2.8 million people tried an illicit drug for the first time, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), illustrating that more and more people are entering into drug abuse every day.

If you or a friend or family member is suffering from drug abuse or addiction, you are not alone. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reports that in 2009, more than 2 million Americans over the age of 12 sought some type of treatment for drug use.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter how hopeless the situation seems, it is never too late to turn things around. Our treatment admissions advisors are standing by to help you through this difficult time.

Drug Abuse Information: Substance Use Signs, Treatment Options (1)Recovery happens every day. It’s never too late to take your first step.
Call today and begin your journey.

How Substance Abuse Starts

For many people, risky behaviors that lead to drug abuse addiction start during early adolescence. Most of these children do not progress in their drug use, but the ones who do are often associated with one or more risk factors for drug abuse, including:

(Video) Drug Abuse, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Inadequate parental supervision.
  • Easy access to drugs.
  • Living at or below the poverty level.

If a child is exposed to several of these risk factors, there is a greater likelihood that he will abuse drugs later in life.

Some people begin abusing drugs during adulthood despite the lack of risk factors. In many cases, the abuse starts with a simple prescription by a physician for a legitimate medical purpose. There are quite a few drugs, especially prescription pain relievers, that your body builds up a tolerance to. You then require more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect, which can lead to abuse as well as physical and psychological addiction.

Video: What Is Addiction?

Credit: Maudsley NHS

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

When someone is abusing drugs, there are often telltale signs and symptoms that are both physical and behavioral, including:

  • Sudden mood swings.
  • Changes in normal behavior.
  • Lack of hygiene and grooming.
  • Withdrawal from friends and family.
  • Loss of interest in normal social activities and hobbies.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns.
  • Bloodshot or glassy eyes.
  • Constant sniffles or runny nose.

Each drug will have its own set of specific symptoms, but these are usually found in most drug abusers. For example:

  • People who abuse methamphetamines may seem high strung or wired.
  • Cocaine abusers usually exhibit a loss of appetite.
  • Those who abuse tranquilizers or barbiturates may be lethargic and disoriented.

To get more information about a particular drug, you can search for drug articles online or reach out to your physician or counselor for more drug info and assistance. If you think you recognize any drug abuse symptoms in a friend or loved one, however, it may be time to intervene. Treatment does not have to be voluntary to be effective. Our treatment counselors can give you the information you need to get started. Contact us today at .

(Video) Substance Use Treatment

Associated Risks of Drug Abuse

Drug abuse carries with it a bevy of potential side effects, depending on the specific drug being used:

  • Those abusing stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines may experience fatigue, depression, and lethargy as they come down from their highs.
  • Individuals who abuse opiate drugs, such as heroin or prescription painkillers, may experience intestinal issues, muscle aches, and nervousness, per WebMD.

Perhaps the most serious risk of drug abuse is the potential to overdose.

In 2009, there were 4.6 million emergency room visits related to drug use, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While some of these visits were due to unfavorable reactions to drugs, roughly 45% of the visits involved drug abuse. The majority of the visits were due to the nonmedical use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including stimulants, opiates, and dietary supplements. Of illegal drugs that led to emergency room visits, cocaine was the most commonly abused, followed by heroin and stimulants.

If you suspect that someone has overdosed, call 911 immediately. Prompt medical attention can often save a life and limit the serious damage done; however, the best way to prevent an overdose is to get help. If drug abuse is an issue, it’s only a matter of time before addiction takes hold. It’s important to get help before an overdose or substantial long-term damage occurs. Learn more at our article, Taking Action: How to Intervene During an Overdose.

Treatment Program Options

There is no magic wand when it comes to treating drug abuse and addiction. This complex disease requires a multifaceted approach to treatment for it to be effective. Most treatment programs include:

  • A thorough mental and physical assessment.
  • Detoxification.
  • Individual or group therapy.
  • Participation in support groups.
  • A comprehensive aftercare program.

The best treatment program is one that is tailored to your specific needs. You and your counselors will need to determine the right type and length of treatment program is best for your situation, how much and what type of therapy you will need and what components should be included in your aftercare program. Our treatment support specialists can give you all of the information you need to start making these decisions. Contact them today at .

(Video) Substance Use Disorders 101: The Overview

Types of Treatment Programs

The first decision you will have to make is whether you want to participate in a residential or outpatient treatment program. If your drug abuse has turned into an acute drug addiction, your best bet might be to enter a program on an inpatient basis, where you can get intensive therapy and counseling.

If you have a strong support network of friends and family at home, an outpatient facility might be right for you. You will still receive all of the therapy and counseling that you need during the day, but you will be able to stay in your own home at night.

Length of Treatment

Experts agree that the minimum length of any drug treatment program should be roughly one month, as it will take a few weeks just to get the drugs out of your system.

Once the physical detoxification is complete, behavioral therapy can begin. Depending on your individual situation and the degree of your abuse or addiction, you may want to consider a program that runs for 60 or 90 days.

Video: Faces of Prescription Drug Abuse: Michael Donta

Credit: KY Office of the Attorney General


All reputable treatment programs put together a comprehensive aftercare program for you to follow when your treatment program is complete. A good aftercare program will include:

(Video) Risk factors for drug use and drug abuse

  • Ongoing counseling.
  • Participation in one or more support groups.
  • Follow-up medical care, if necessary.

It will also address any professional, financial or legal issues that may have arisen due to the drug abuse.

The Time is Now

If you are abusing or addicted to drugs or know someone who is, today is the day to start on the road to recovery.

Everyone deserves to live a clean and sober life, and there is plenty of help and support out there to get you started. Contact our compassionate treatment advisors today at to get started on your own recovery.

Additional Resources on Health Insurance Providers and Coverage Levels

Visit the links below to find out more about your health insurance coverage levels, how to get your insurance company to pay for drug and alcohol rehab and also how to pay if you don’t have insurance.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Aetna
  • Humana
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Ciga
  • Rehab insurance coverage
  • Rehab without insurance

Additional Resources on Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Whether you’re looking for a specific type of rehab treatment, substance related info or additional guides, below are some our popular and recommended.

  • Drug addiction hotline number
  • Alcohol addiction hotline number
  • Detox Centers Near Me
  • Detoxing from Drugs at Home
  • Free Drug Rehab Centers Near Me
  • How to Help a Drug Addict
  • State-Funded Rehab Centers Near me


What are the three elements of a substance abuse program? ›

Here are the three main elements of the substance abuse program.
  • Assessment.
  • Therapeutic drug treatment.
  • Experiential therapeutic programs.
  • About Magnolia Ranch Recovery Addiction Treatment Center.
27 Jul 2022

What are the 6 types of substance abuse? ›

What are the 6 different types of drug dependence? Within the above categories are six types of drug dependency: alcohol dependence, opioid dependence, hypnotics/sedative dependence, cannabis dependence, hallucinogen dependence, and cocaine abuse.

What are 3 warning signs that someone has a substance abuse problem? ›

Psychological warning signs of drug abuse
  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, spaced-out, or angry outbursts.
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason.

What are the steps usually involved in the treatment of drug abuse? ›

medication. medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training. evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. long-term follow-up to prevent relapse.

What is the most common form of treatment for addictions? ›

Behavioral therapy is perhaps the most commonly utilized types of treatment for addiction that is frequently used during substance rehabilitation. A general behavioral therapeutic approach has been adapted into a variety of effective techniques.

What are the four goals of treatment? ›

The Four Goals of Drug Therapy
  • Identifying Drug Use and Problem Behavior. One of the hardest goals is also one of the most important, knowing what to look for when you have concerns about someone's drug use. ...
  • Intervention and Detox. ...
  • Drug Therapy and Treatment Completion. ...
  • Work To Avoid Relapse.
26 Jul 2021

What are the 10 causes of drug abuse? ›

Risk factors
  • Family history of addiction. Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves genetic predisposition. ...
  • Mental health disorder. ...
  • Peer pressure. ...
  • Lack of family involvement. ...
  • Early use. ...
  • Taking a highly addictive drug.

What are the 7 types of drugs? ›

DREs classify drugs in one of seven categories: central nervous system (CNS) depressants, CNS stimulants, hallucinogens, dissociative anesthetics, narcotic analgesics, inhalants, and cannabis.

What is the main causes of drug abuse? ›

Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person's likelihood of drug use and addiction. Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person's life to affect addiction risk.

How can we prevent drug abuse? ›

  1. study habits and academic support;
  2. communication;
  3. peer relationships;
  4. self-efficacy and assertiveness;
  5. drug resistance skills;
  6. reinforcement of anti-drug attitudes; and.
  7. strengthening of personal commitments against drug abuse.

How can we prevent drug use? ›

Know your triggers
  1. avoiding places where you know drugs and alcohol will be available.
  2. surrounding yourself with friends who don't use drugs.
  3. knowing how to resist temptation.
  4. learning how to cope with stress and relax without drugs.
  5. distracting yourself with activities like exercise or listening to music.
4 Mar 2020

What is the five symptoms of drug abuse? ›

What Are Behavioral Signs of Drug Abuse?
  • Increased aggression or irritability.
  • Changes in attitude/personality.
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Sudden changes in a social network.
  • Dramatic changes in habits and/or priorities.
  • Involvement in criminal activity.
2 Sept 2022

What are the effects of drug abuse? ›

Side effects of drug addiction may include:

Increased strain on the liver, which puts the person at risk of significant liver damage or liver failure. Seizures, stroke, mental confusion and brain damage. Lung disease. Problems with memory, attention and decision-making, which make daily living more difficult.

What is the medical term for treatment using drugs? ›

Listen to pronunciation. (… THAYR-uh-pee) Treatment with any substance, other than food, that is used to prevent, diagnose, treat, or relieve symptoms of a disease or abnormal condition.

What is the first step in the treatment process for addiction? ›

Detoxification is normally the first step in treatment. This involves clearing a substance from the body and limiting withdrawal reactions. In 80 percent of cases, a treatment clinic will use medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Which treatment is most effective in treating addiction? ›

According to American Addiction Centers, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a valuable treatment tool because it can be used for many different types of addiction including, but not limited to, food addiction, alcohol addiction, and prescription drug addiction.

How can we prevent drug abuse among youth? ›

Consider other strategies to prevent teen drug abuse:
  1. Know your teen's activities. Pay attention to your teen's whereabouts. ...
  2. Establish rules and consequences. ...
  3. Know your teen's friends. ...
  4. Keep track of prescription drugs. ...
  5. Provide support. ...
  6. Set a good example.

What are three ways you can help someone who is addicted to drugs? ›

7 Tips for Helping Someone with an Addiction
  • Tip #1: Educate Yourself. Get information about addictions. ...
  • Tip #2: Get Support. ...
  • Tip #3: Get Counseling. ...
  • Tip #4: Seek Specialty Help. ...
  • Tip #5: Don't Enable. ...
  • Tip #6: Have Realistic Expectations. ...
  • Tip #7: Take Care of Yourself.
4 Sept 2013

What is treatment plan? ›

A treatment plan is a detailed plan tailored to the individual patient and is a powerful tool for engaging the patient in their treatment. Treatment plans usually follow a simple format and typically include the following information: The patient's personal information, psychological history and demographics.

What is an individual treatment plan? ›

A written individualized treatment plan, referred to as Treatment Plan, is a comprehensive, progressive, personalized plan that includes all prescribed Behavioral Health (BH) services. It is person-centered, recovery oriented, culturally competent and addresses personalized goals and objectives.

What defines drug abuse? ›

Listen to pronunciation. (...uh-BYOOS) The use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts. Drug abuse may lead to social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems.

How do drugs affect the brain? ›

How do drugs work in the brain? Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body.

What are the effects of drug abuse in community? ›

Drug abuse is often accompanied by a devastating social impact upon community life. The present article focuses on the adverse effect of drug abuse on industry, education and training and the family, as well as on its contribution to violence, crime, financial problems, housing problems, homelessness and vagrancy.

What are the types of drug names? ›

In the majority of circumstances, drugs have 3 types of names: chemical names, the most important of which is the IUPAC name; generic or nonproprietary names, the most important of which are international nonproprietary names (INNs); and trade names, which are brand names.

What are the 4 major classes of drugs? ›

What Are the Four Types of Drugs?
  • Depressants. Some of the most commonly found types of drugs in society are depressants. ...
  • Stimulants. Stimulants, such as caffeine or nicotine, work in the opposite manner. ...
  • Opioids. The opioid addiction crisis has affected our society to a grave degree. ...
  • Hallucinogens.
4 Jan 2022

What are the 8 classes of drugs? ›

The drug categories are:
  • Stimulants.
  • Inhalants.
  • Cannabinoids.
  • Depressants.
  • Opioids.
  • Steroids.
  • Hallucinogens.
  • Prescription drugs.
24 Jul 2019

What are the effects of drug abuse on youths? ›

Substance-abusing youth are at higher risk than nonusers for mental health problems, including depression, conduct problems, personality disorders, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, and suicide.

Why is drug prevention important? ›

Importance of drug and alcohol prevention. The harms associated with drugs and alcohol, including accidents, injury and violence, are particularly high for young people. Drugs and alcohol can also interfere with the developing adolescent brain.

What is the importance of drug awareness? ›

Effective drug education is important because young people are faced with many influences to use both licit and illicit drugs. Education can play a counterbalancing role in shaping a normative culture of safety, moderation, and informed decision making.

Why is it important to say no to drugs? ›

It not only impairs judgement, it diminishes motor skills and mobility. And drugs present a wide variety of health risks and dangers depending on which drug you are using. If you care about your health and fitness, just say NO to Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs.

What are 5 ways to say no to drugs? ›

Say something like: - "Hey, I said I'm trying to stay clean, so don't ask me again." - "I told you I don't use anymore, so stop asking." - "I'm trying really hard to stay clean, so please don't ask me to use anymore." • If you notice that someone does have drugs, leave the area.

What are the characteristics of drugs? ›

A drug must possess the following characteristics:
  • It should not be toxic.
  • It should not cause any side effects.
  • It should not affect the receptor tissues.
  • It should not affect normal physiological activities.

What are the benefits of drug therapy? ›

According to the American Psychiatric Association, some of the benefits of drug counseling include:
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • Positive coping skills for handling stress.
  • Better coping mechanisms for mental health issues.
  • Understanding of behaviors and motivations.
28 Aug 2019

Is Drug Addiction a treatable disease? ›

Can addiction be treated successfully? Yes, addiction is a treatable disorder. Research on the science of addiction and the treatment of substance use disorders has led to the development of research-based methods that help people to stop using drugs and resume productive lives, also known as being in recovery.

What is the true meaning of addiction? ›

Addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.

What are the five stages of treatment? ›

Developed from the Trans-theoretical Model of Change1, the Stage of Change model includes five stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

What are the four stages of treatment? ›

The four stages of treatment are: Treatment initiation. Early abstinence. Maintaining abstinence.

What is the first rule of recovery? ›

Rule 1: Change Your Life

The most important rule of recovery is that a person does not achieve recovery by just not using. Recovery involves creating a new life in which it is easier to not use.

What are the 3 pillars of recovery? ›

This article claims that disruption brought on by trauma is best treated by what can be called the cycle of love, manifesting as the three pillars of recovery: awareness, acceptance, and integration.

Who are the main targets of primary drug abuse prevention programs quizlet? ›

Who are the targets of the Strengthening Families drug-abuse prevention program? Children of parents who are substance abusers.

What is therapeutic community program? ›

What is TC? The Therapeutic Community (TC) is an environment that helps people get help while helping others. It is a treatment environment: the interactions of its members are designed to be therapeutic within the context of the norms that require for each to play the dual role of client-therapist.

What is another name for a residential treatment program for substance abuse? ›

Residential Treatment Programs

Commonly known as "rehab," these programs usually last from 1 to 3 months where an individual lives at a location away from home to avoid triggers that compel addictive behavior, according to licensed professional counselor, Nicole Miller.

What are the most important factors in recovery from a drug addiction? ›

It is important for individuals in recovery to eat well, exercise, meditate, have proper sleep-hygiene, and engage in other such self-care behaviors that support their mental wellness and addiction recovery.

What are the stages of recovery? ›

The five stages of addiction recovery are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Read on to find out more about the various stages.

What are the 6 principles of recovery? ›

It has often been said to be about: gaining and retaining hope, understanding of ones abilities and limitations, engagement in an active life, personal autonomy, social identity, meaning and purpose in life, and a positive sense of self.

What are the 5 categories of drugs? ›

DREs classify drugs in one of seven categories: central nervous system (CNS) depressants, CNS stimulants, hallucinogens, dissociative anesthetics, narcotic analgesics, inhalants, and cannabis.

What are family based prevention programs? ›

Family-based prevention programs focus primarily on education and skills training to enhance positive outcomes in youth by reducing salient risk factors and improving protective factors and resilience [4].

What is the ultimate goal of workplace drug prevention programs? ›

prevent drug use by making clear that it is not condoned.

Which is the first step in treating a drug abuse problem? ›

Intensive Outpatient Rehab – The First, Second, or Third Step in Treatment. For others, the first step of drug addiction treatment is intensive outpatient rehab. Those who have a mild to a moderate issue with drugs can begin with this step while others transition to it after undergoing detox and inpatient rehab.

What is a healthy alternative to drug use? ›

Alternatives to Using Drugs

Exercise or playing sports releases natural endorphins and hormones that makes your body feel good. Find new hobbies, such as reading, painting, gardening, woodworking, etc. Learn a new language. Volunteer around your neighborhood.

What is the purpose of rehabilitation? ›

Put simply, rehabilitation helps a child, adult or older person to be as independent as possible in everyday activities and enables participation in education, work, recreation and meaningful life roles such as taking care of family.

What is effective treatment? ›

3. Effective Treatment Attends to Multiple Needs of the Individual, not just his or her drug use: To be effective, treatment must address the individual's drug use and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems.

What is treatment model? ›

A medical model of addiction that theorizes it as a simple, impersonal disease will inform a treatment model that relies on medications that treat addiction or inhibit drug use.

What is community based treatment? ›

Community Based Treatment refers to a specific integrated model of treatment for people affected by drug use and dependence in the community which provides a continuum of care from outreach and low threshold services, through detoxification and stabilisation to aftercare and integration, including maintenance ...


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2. Teen Health: Substance Use and Abuse
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3. The Dual Diagnosis of Substance Use and Behavioral Health Conditions
(Conversations For Caring)
4. Substance Use Disorder
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