Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance abuse is a disease that can devastate the lives of all of the people involved. An addiction not only affects the person that is taking part in the use of the substance, but it affects the families. They are the ones that are usually emotionally, verbally, or physically abused when a person that they love choose to lead a life with drugs. When a person becomes addicted to a substance such as drugs or alcohol, they often do not believe that they need help, or they believe that they can change on their own. It is common for users to refuse help, and become unsuccessful when trying to get off the substance on their own.

The professionals at believe that even when substance abuse stops, the long-term use may modify the brain’s ability to function. Brain function alterations makes it more likely for someone to be exposed to drug cravings. The control of drug cravings is the most important aspect of maintaining sobriety and avoiding relapse.

Treating substance abuse is dependant on the substance abuser and the substance in which they are addicted to. Each person will have unique needs when battling their addiction, therefore they will need specific treatment.

Professionals believe that behavioral treatment is one of the most significant features in the treatment process. Counseling is often used when the behavior of an addict is questioned. Addiction counseling is a way for the addict and the counselors to find the reason behind the addiction, and why it usually used as a coping method. Counseling will allow addicts to express themselves and what they think about their lives as addicts. The goal is to work through all of the feelings that have been pushed away throughout the time that the individuals were using and the feelings that they generated while engrossed by their chosen substances.

In certain instances, a person may have been using drugs or alcohol for so long, that they literally cannot physically function without the substance. It is in these situations that closely monitored medications may be used during the recovery process. These medications are often used to avoid any medical illness or emergency that can occur when the addictive behavior has been stopped.

It is also common for drug and alcohol abusers to have a variety of mental disorders such has depression or anxiety. Often, it is because of mental illness that drug and alcohol abuse begins. It is vital for addicts that have a mental illness to receive treatment for their condition along with their condition or the addiction will have a higher chance of recurring.

Treatment is not always a voluntary. Addicts often need to be pushed or motivated to receive help when fighting their disease. Motivation is often helpful when an addict is either debating on entering or continuing treatment. Interventions are common when dealing with people that are substance abusers. They often need outside sources to open their eyes to what the addiction is doing to them, and the people that care about them.
The A&E television channel began production of a show called Intervention. This show allows everyone around the country to watch people confront their addictions with the help of their loved ones. The show varies when it comes to the substances and disorder that are illustrated on screen.

Do you find one treatment method more effective than the others? Or do you think a combination of all of the methods is best?

Are there any treatments that were not mentioned that you feel would be useful?

What are your feelings about Interventions? They are not always successful, are they worth trying?

The first link is part one to an episode of Intervention about leslie, a mother of three who is also an alcoholic.

The second and third links are parts 2 and 3 of Leslie's episode where her drinking has gotten to the worst point, and the family is getting ready for the intervention.

The fourth and fifth links deal with Leslie's intervention and her decision regarding treatment.


Posted by: Shannon


  1. Speaking as an art therapy major, of course I’m going to advocate the importance of art therapy and expressive arts therapy as an alternative or additional treatment substance abuse users may chose to use. Another TV show that is quite popular amongst the line of substance abuse and behavioral issues if Celebrity Rehab. This show consists of a hand full of celebrities who have tuned to drugs ad or alcohol as part of their everyday lives. They were brought on the show to control their substance abuse while undergoing therapeutic counseling. One of the techniques they used through the rehabilitation process was art therapy. From this creative technique of self expression some of the patients were able to dig deep into their emotions and express some of their thoughts and feelings that wouldn’t have otherwise come out in words.

    -Alicia Mamula

  2. I though that the Intervention links were a good supplement to this post, because I could see the structure of an intervention. I think that interventions could be useful tools in treating substance abuse. I think that most of the time the abuser doesn't want to hurt his/her loved ones. They may not know to what extent their loved ones are being affected. So the value of an intervention is to open the abuser's eyes to the realities and the affects of their addiction. It also shows the abuser how much potential support they would have if they tried to quit, and essentially gives the abuser an ultimatum. I do think, however, that it would be very difficult to have a successful intervention without a follow-up of therapy or rehab.

    -Rachael Cina

  3. I really liked the intervention links. I thought that it brought some real life to the information presented. It showed a very emotional situation with a family dealing with alcohol abuse. I also liked how it showed a "regular" mother who used to be very involved in her families lives. It shows that the situation is very relate-able and can happen to anyone.

    BeccaJo Abelman

  4. First off I have a question. How is substance abuse exactly defined? I have known people who may not have a drink in a whole year but on the one day that they drink they drink a tremendous amount. I also know people who drink everyday but may only have a beer. I personally feel that labeling a person as a "substance abuser" is a loosely defined term. I do not like how some people are given this label for when they may have by mistake overdid it one night by mistake.

    But Overall I loved your blog. The videos were very interesting. It gave a visual to your blog. personally feel that counseling is the best treatment because it gives the abuser a safe place to let out why they are the way they are.

    -Karl Daruwala

  5. I think one of the major things that I have been reminded of and have picked up on through reading this blog is how heavily an addict's desire to get better affects their success at recovery. I have heard the cliche so many times - I person is never going to get better unless they want to get better. And while it may seem obvious, and I think one of the hardest parts for families dealing with an addict is that they can not force them to become sober, because the chances that they will remain sober under those circumstances are unfortunately extremely slim. While it may seem easier to just force a person in to rehab, instead, families have to work to show their family member that sobering-up is what is best for them, their kids, their livelihood, etc.
    I think that is what made Leslie's intervention such a successful one. It was emotional and difficult, but she was ready to admit to her problem and was hearing directly from her children how she had hurt them and disrupted their lives. When she left, she had an honest desire to get well for her kids, and I think that is a huge factor in whether success follows.
    While doing my genogram, I learned that my great grandfather, who I knew was an alcoholic, became sober in 1942 when he moved his family out to California to start work in war factory. They had been living in Nebraska and had fallen victim to the same devastation of the Great Depression as every one else. However, my mom told me that when the opportunity for work came along and he saw a way to take care of his family - he immediately joined AA when he started his job in CA. Just through AA he became sober and extremely successful in business and as a father in the years to follow. I thought this was such a cool example of someone who was motivated by the desire to care for their family enough to take the initiate to recover from their disease. However, I think if people are in denial of their problem or go in to treatment out of obligation, unfortunately the walls may never be broken down enough to allow them to make a full recovery.

  6. That's a great blog to acquire sober living, thanks for it.