What is Substance Use Disorder?Mental health and substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable and many people do recover. Mental disorders involve changes in thinking, mood, and/or behavior. These disorders can affect how we relate to others and make choices. Reaching a level that can be formally diagnosed often depends on a reduction in a person’s ability to function as a result of the disorder. According to SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. Alcoholism and drug dependence and addiction, known as substance use disorders, are complex problems. People with these disorders once were thought to have a character defect or moral weakness; some people mistakenly still believe that. However, most scientists and medical researchers now consider dependence on alcohol or drugs to be a long-term illness, like asthma, hypertension (high blood pressure), or diabetes. Most people who drink alcohol drink very little, and many people can stop taking drugs without a struggle. However, some people develop a substance use disorder—use of alcohol or drugs that is compulsive or dangerous (or both).
Why Do Some People Develop a Problem but Others Don’t?Substance use disorder is an illness that can affect anyone: rich or poor, male or female, employed or unemployed, young or old, and any race or ethnicity. Nobody knows for sure exactly what causes it, but the chance of developing a substance use disorder depends partly on genetics— biological traits passed down through families. A person’s environment, psychological traits, and stress level also play major roles by contributing to the use of alcohol or drugs. Researchers have found that using drugs for a long time changes the brain in important, long-lasting ways. It is as if a switch in the brain turned on at some point. This point is different for every person, but when this switch turns on, the person crosses an invisible line and becomes dependent on the substance. People who start using drugs or alcohol early in life run a greater risk of crossing this line and becoming dependent. These changes in the brain remain long after a person stops using drugs or drinking alcohol.
What Are the Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders?One of the most important signs of substance addiction or dependence is continued use of drugs or alcohol despite experiencing the serious negative consequences of heavy drug or alcohol use. Often, a person will blame other people or circumstances for his or her problems instead of realizing that the difficulties result from use of drugs or alcohol. For example, your partner may believe he was fired from jobs because his bosses didn’t know how to run a business. Or your daughter may believe she got a ticket for driving under the influence of alcohol because the police were targeting her. Perhaps your loved one has even blamed you. People with this illness really may believe that they drink normally or that “everyone” takes drugs. These false beliefs are called denial, and denial is part of the illness. Physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms—In some cases when alcohol or drug use is stopped, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms from a physical need for the substance. Withdrawal symptoms differ depending on the drug, but they may include nausea, sweating, shakiness, and extreme anxiety. The person may try to relieve these symptoms by taking either more of the same or a similar substance. Tolerance—A person will need increasingly larger amounts of alcohol or drugs to get high. Craving—A person will feel a strong need, desire, or urge to use alcohol or drugs, will use alcohol or a drug despite negative consequences, and will feel anxious and irritable if he or she can’t use them. Craving is a primary symptom of addiction. Loss of control—A person often will drink more alcohol or take more drugs than he or she meant to, or may use alcohol or drugs at a time or place he or she had not planned. A person also may try to reduce or stop drinking or using drugs many times, but may fail.
What is Substance Use Treatment?Many different kinds of professionals provide treatment for substance use disorders. In most treatment programs, the main caregivers are specially trained individuals certified or licensed as substance abuse treatment counselors. About half these counselors are people who are in recovery themselves. Many programs have staff from several different ethnic or cultural groups. Most treatment programs assign patients to a treatment team of professionals. Depending on the type of treatment, teams can be made up of social workers, counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, or other professionals. Everyone entering treatment receives a clinical assessment. A complete assessment of an individual is needed to help treatment professionals offer the type of treatment that best suits him or her. The assessment also helps program counselors work with the person to design an effective treatment plan. Although clinical assessment continues throughout a person’s treatment, it starts at or just before a person’s admission to a treatment program. The counselor will begin by gathering information about the person, asking many questions such as those about: •Kinds, amount, and length of time of substance or alcohol use • Cultural issues around use of alcohol or drugs • Effects of drug or alcohol use on the person’s life • Medical history • Current medical problems or needs • Current medications (including pain medication) • Mental health issues or behavioral problems • Family and social issues and needs • Legal or financial problems • Educational background and needs • Current living situation and environment • Employment history, stability, problems, and needs • School performance, problems, and needs, if relevant • Previous treatment experiences or attempts to quit drug or alcohol use.
What Types of Treatment Programs are Available?Several types of treatment programs are available: • Inpatient treatment Inpatient treatment, provided in special units of hospitals or medical clinics, offers both detoxification and rehabilitation services. People who have a mental disorder or serious medical problems as well as a substance use disorder are the ones most likely to receive inpatient treatment. Adolescents may also need the structure of inpatient treatment to make sure a full assessment of their substance use and mental disorders can be done • Residential programs Residential programs provide a living environment with treatment services. Several models of residential treatment (such as the therapeutic community) exist, and treatment in these programs lasts from a month to a year or more. The programs differ in some ways, but they are similar in many ways. • Partial hospitalization or day treatment Partial hospitalization or day treatment programs also may be provided in hospitals or free-standing treatment centers. In these programs, the person attends treatment for 4 to 8 hours per day but lives at home or in a recovery residence. These programs usually last for at least 3 months and work best for people who have a stable, supportive home environment. • Outpatient and intensive outpatient programs Outpatient and intensive outpatient programs provide treatment at a program site, but the person lives elsewhere (usually at home). Outpatient treatment is offered in a variety of places: health clinics, community mental health clinics, counselors’ offices, hospital clinics, local health department offices, or residential programs with outpatient clinics. Many meet in the evenings and on weekends so participants can go to school or work. Outpatient treatment programs have different requirements for attendance. Some programs require daily attendance; others meet only one to three times per week. • We also offer family support groups for those whose loved ones are struggling with addiction.
What Actually Happens in Treatment Programs?Although treatment programs differ, the basic ingredients of treatment are similar. Most programs include many or all elements presented below. -Assessment As we discussed earlier, all treatment programs begin with a clinical assessment of a person’s individual treatment needs. This assessment helps in the development of an effective treatment plan. -Medical Care Programs in hospitals can provide this care on site. Other outpatient or residential programs may have doctors and nurses come to the program site for a few days each week, or a person may be referred to other places for medical care. Medical care typically includes screening and treatment for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and women’s health issues. -A Treatment Plan The treatment team, along with the person in treatment, develops a treatment plan based on the assessment. A treatment plan is a written guide to treatment that includes the person’s goals, treatment activities designed to help him or her meet those goals, ways to tell whether a goal has been met, and a timeframe for meeting goals. The treatment plan helps both the person in treatment and treatment program staff stay focused and on track. The treatment plan is adjusted over time to meet changing needs and ensure that it stays relevant. -Group and Individual Counseling At first, individual counseling generally focuses on motivating the person to stop using drugs or alcohol. Treatment then shifts to helping the person stay drug and alcohol free. The counselor attempts to help the person: • See the problem and become motivated to change • Change his or her behavior • Repair damaged relationships with family and friends • Build new friendships with people who don’t use alcohol or drugs • Create a recovery lifestyle. Group counseling is different in each program, but group members usually support and try to help one another cope with life without using drugs or alcohol. They share their experiences, talk about their feelings and problems, and find out that others have similar problems. Groups also may explore spirituality and its role in recovery. -Individual Assignments People in treatment may be asked to read certain things (or listen to audiotapes), to complete written assignments (or record them on audiotapes), or to try new behaviors. -Education About Substance Use Disorders People learn about the symptoms and the effects of alcohol and drug use on their brains and bodies. Education groups use videotapes or audiotapes, lectures, or activities to help people learn about their illness and how to manage it. -Life Skills Training This training can include learning and practicing employment skills, leisure activities, social skills, communication skills, anger management, stress management, goal setting, and money and time management. -Testing for Alcohol or Drug Use Program staff members regularly take urine samples from people for drug testing. Some programs are starting to test saliva instead of urine. They also may use a BreathalyzerTM to test people for alcohol use. -Relapse Prevention Training Relapse prevention training teaches people how to identify their relapse triggers, how to cope with cravings, how to develop plans for handling stressful situations, and what to do if they relapse. A trigger is anything that makes a person crave a drug. Triggers often are connected to the person’s past use, such as a person he or she used drugs with, a time or place, drug use paraphernalia (such as syringes, a pipe, or a bong), or a particular situation or emotion. -Orientation to Self-Help Groups Participants in self-help groups support and encourage one another to become or stay drug and alcohol free. Twelve-Step programs are perhaps the best known of the self-help groups. These programs include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous, and Marijuana Anonymous. Other self-help groups include SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) Recovery® and Women for Sobriety. Members themselves, not treatment facilities, run selfhelp groups. In many places, self-help groups offer meetings for people with particular needs. You may find special meetings for young people; women; lesbian, gay, and bisexual people; newcomers; and those who need meetings in languages other than English. -Treatment for Mental Disorders Many people with a substance use disorder also have emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder. Adolescents in treatment also may have behavior problems, conduct disorder, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Treating both the substance use and mental disorders increases the chances that the person will recover. Some counselors think people should be alcohol and drug free for at least 3 to 4 weeks before a treatment professional can identify emotional illness correctly. The program may provide mental health care, or it may refer a person to other sites for this care. Mental health care often includes the use of medications, such as antidepressants. -Family Education and Counseling Services This education can help you understand the disease and its causes, effects, and treatment. Programs provide this education in many ways: lectures, discussions, activities, and group meetings. Some programs provide counseling for families or couples. Family counseling is especially critical in treatment for adolescents. Parents need to be involved in treatment planning and followup care decisions for the adolescent. Family members also need to participate as fully as possible in the family counseling the program offers.
Why Does Treatment Take So Long?Substance use disorders affect every part of a person’s life. For that reason, treatment needs to affect every part of a person’s life as well. Treatment involves more than helping someone stop drinking alcohol or using drugs. Actually, stopping alcohol use or drug use is just the beginning of the recovery process. Your family member will need to learn new ways to cope with daily life. He or she will need to relearn how to deal with stress, anger, or social situations and how to have fun without using drugs or drinking. Learning these new skills is a lot of work. Many people enter treatment only because of pressure from the legal system, employers, parents, spouses, or other family members. The first step in treatment then is to help them see that they do have a problem and to become motivated to change for themselves. This process often takes time. Your family member also will need time to understand and begin to use the support of the self-help groups mentioned before. These groups will be important to his or her recovery for many years to come. Remember: It can take a long time for the disease to develop and it is often chronic; therefore, it can take a long time to treat it.
What is Alcohol Use Disorder?Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. It encompasses the conditions that some people refer to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and the colloquial term, alcoholism. Considered a brain disorder, AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe. Lasting changes in the brain caused by alcohol misuse perpetuate AUD and make individuals vulnerable to relapse. The good news is that no matter how severe the problem may seem, evidence-based treatment with behavioral therapies, mutual-support groups, and/or medications can help people with AUD achieve and maintain recovery. Foundations Group Recovery Centers Addiction Treatment Center located in Mashpee, MA offers a variety of services designed to cater to our clients needs at every stage in their recovery. We offer individualized care to treat substance use disorder through evidence based research.
What is Opioid Use Disorder?The US is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. If you or someone you know needs help, effective treatment is available and can save lives. Physical and psychological reliance on opioids, a substance found in certain prescription pain medications and illegal drugs like heroin. Opioids are prescribed to treat pain. With prolonged use, pain-relieving effects may lessen and pain can become worse. In addition, the body can develop dependence. Opioid dependence causes withdrawal symptoms, which makes it difficult to stop taking them. Addiction occurs when dependence interferes with daily life. Taking more than the prescribed amount or using illegal opioids like heroin may result in death. Symptoms of addiction include uncontrollable cravings and inability to control opioid use even though it's having negative effects on personal relationships or finances. Treatment varies but may include discontinuing the drug. Medications such as methadone can help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and cravings. Pairing medication with inpatient or support programs generally has the most success. Foundations Group Recovery Centers Addiction Treatment Center located in Mashpee, MA offers a variety of services designed to cater to our clients needs at every stage in their recovery. We offer individualized care to treat substance use disorder through evidence based research. Reach out to us today to learn more about our Opioid Use Disorder Treatment.
Do you offer virtual treatment?It is possible to obtain Substance Use Disorder Treatment virtually! At Foundations Group Recovery Centers, located in Mashpee, MA, we offer several treatment options virtually. Foundations Group Recovery Centers offers a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in a remote setting through the comfort of your home. Our Virtual PHP Program and Virtual IOP Program at Foundations Group Recovery Centers offers many of the same services offered at our addiction treatment center in Mashpee, MA. Foundations Group Recovery Centers Addiction Treatment Center located in Mashpee, MA offers a variety of services designed to cater to our clients needs at every stage in their recovery. We offer individualized care to treat substance use disorder through evidence based research.
Do you accept insurance?Foundations Group Recovery Centers accepts most major insurance plans. The cost of rehab for the individual will vary based on the insurance holders plan. There may be a deductible as part of the plan that the individual is responsible for. Foundations Group Recovery Centers Addiction Treatment Center located in Mashpee, MA offers a variety of services designed to cater to our clients needs at every stage in their recovery. We offer individualized care to treat substance use disorder through evidence based research.
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At Foundations Group Recovery Centers, we’re proud to offer a comprehensive suite of inpatient and outpatient recovery services throughout the Boston, MA region. Our certified team members participate in continuing education programs to ensure our clients access the very latest addiction services. Whether you’re struggling with cocaine addiction or benzodiazepine abuse, we’re here to help.
We invite you to browse our resources page to gain a better understanding of our substance use treatments and recovery coaching programs. No matter the precise nature of your addiction, our team will help to guide you through your journey of recovery. As always, you’re more than welcome to contact one of our knowledgeable representatives with any additional questions, comments, or concerns.
The thought process in which a person does not believe he or she has a problem, despite strong evidence to the contrary. It is a way of protecting oneself from painful thoughts or feelings.
Detoxification (or “detox”)
A process that helps the body rid itself of substances while the symptoms of withdrawal are treated. It is often a first step in a substance abuse treatment program.
Also called continuing care. Treatment that is prescribed after completion of inpatient or outpatient treatment. It can be participation in individual or group counseling, regular contact with a counselor, or other activities designed to help people stay in recovery.
A place to live for people recovering from substance use disorders. Usually several people in recovery live together with limited or no supervision by a counselor.
Treatment in a setting that is connected to a hospital or a hospital-type setting where a person stays for a few days or weeks.
Treatment provided at a facility. The services vary but do not include overnight accommodation. Sometimes it is prescribed after inpatient treatment.
A recurrence of symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement; that is, a person in recovery drinks or uses drugs again after a period of abstinence.
Any strategy or activity that helps keep a person in recovery from drinking alcohol or using drugs again. It may include developing new coping responses; changing beliefs and expectations; and changing personal habits, lifestyles, and schedules.
Treatment in a setting in which both staff and peers can help with treatment. It provides more structure and more intensive services than outpatient treatment. Participants live in the treatment facility. Residential treatment is long term, typically lasting from 1 month to more than 1 year.
Support groups consisting of people in recovery that offer a safe place where recovering people share their experiences, strengths, and hopes. AA’s 12 Steps help the members recover from addiction, addictive behavior, and emotional suffering. These groups are free and are not supported by any particular treatment program.
A plan that provides a blueprint for treatment. It describes the problems being addressed, the treatment’s goals, and the specific steps that both the treatment professionals and the person in treatment will take.
A team of professionals (e.g., clinical supervisor, counselor, therapist, and physician) responsible for treating a person and helping his or her family.
Any event, place, thing, smell, idea, emotion, or person that sets off a craving to drink alcohol or use drugs.
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. (Al-Anon and Alateen)
888-4AL-ANON (meeting information line)
Cocaine Anonymous World Services (CAWSO)
Narcotics Anonymous World Services Office
This page contains information offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services , Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment