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Questions About Substance Use Disorders & Addiction

How do I know if I have a substance use disorder?

There are several signs that you may have a substance use disorder. If you can answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, then you may have a problem with substance use.

  1. Do you obsess about getting high and have cravings or urges to use the drug?
  2. Do you have to use larger amounts of the drug or for longer periods of time than you once did to experience the same effects?
  3. Do you spend a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from the drug?
  4. Has drug use consumed your life to the point that you’ve lost interest in things that you used to enjoy?
  5. Do you want to cut down or stop using the drug but feel powerless to do so?
  6. Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the drug, such as mood swings, insomnia, or restlessness?
  7. Does your drug use make it difficult for you to manage your responsibilities at home, work, or school?
  8. Do you use drugs in secret and try to hide, downplay, or lie about your drug use, even to close friends and family?
  9. Have you gotten into trouble with the law because of your drug use?
  10. Do you continue to use drugs even when it causes problems in your relationships?
  11. Do you continue to drugs even when it puts you in danger?
  12. Do you continue to use drugs even though you know that doing so worsens a physical or mental problem that you have?

What are some substance use disorders?

  • Opioid Use Disorder
  • Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Sedative Use Disorder
  • Stimulant Use Disorder
  • Hallucinogen Use Disorder
  • Marijuana Use Disorder
  • Nicotine Use Disorder

What is Opioid Use Disorder?

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is an addiction to opioids, including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, and morphine. Opioids affect the areas of the brain that control pleasure and reward, which causes feelings of euphoria and pain relief, making them highly addictive with an increased risk of tolerance and overdose.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is an addiction to alcohol. AUD is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive and uncontrolled alcohol use and a negative emotional state when not drinking. Heavy drinking over a long period of time can damage the heart, liver, pancreas, weaken the immune system, and increase the risk of certain cancers.

What is Sedative Use Disorder?

Sedative Use Disorder is an addiction to sedatives, which are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that slow brain activity and are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Combining sedatives with other depressants like alcohol and opioids can slow heart rate and breathing to the point of overdose and death. Sedative misuse can also cause life-threatening complications such as seizures. Sedatives include:

  • Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium®), clonazepam (Klonopin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®), which are intended for short-term use only since they have a high risk for developing tolerance and addiction. More than 30% of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines.
  • Non-benzodiazepine sleep medications, such as zolpidem (Ambien®), eszopiclone (Lunesta®), and zaleplon (Sonata®), work similarly to benzodiazepines but pose a lower risk of addiction.
  • Barbiturates, such as mephobarbital (Mebaral®), phenobarbital (Luminal®), and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®), are prescribed less frequently because they pose a higher risk of addiction and overdose than benzodiazepines.

What is Stimulant Use Disorder?

Stimulant Use Disorder is an addiction to stimulants, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs such as Ritalin®, Adderall®, and Modafinil®. Stimulants increase dopamine levels in the brain, which affects pleasure, movement, and attention. Serious consequences of stimulant misuse can include heart attacks, seizures, strokes, coma, aggression, psychotic behavior, memory loss, and an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

What is Hallucinogen Use Disorder?

Hallucinogen Use Disorder is an addiction to hallucinogens, including ketamine (special K), phencyclidine (PCP), LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), mescaline, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), salvia, and many other psychedelic drugs. Hallucinogens cause psychoactive, mind-altering effects such as seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t really there. Taking hallucinogens can cause frightening hallucinations, disorientation, poor judgment, and dangerous risk-taking behavior. Physiological effects include elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, dilated pupils, and often can induce nausea and vomiting. Repeated use of hallucinogens such as LSD or ecstasy leads to tolerance and can result in psychological dependence.

What is Marijuana Use Disorder?

Marijuana Use Disorder is an addiction to marijuana (cannabis) due to the sedating and anxiolytic properties of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Addicted individuals cannot stop using marijuana despite its negative effects on their mental and physical health, such as paranoia, memory loss, hallucinations, lung illnesses and infections, increased heart rate, or intense nausea and vomiting (Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome). Marijuana Use Disorder has also been linked to worsening symptoms of schizophrenia and problems with attention and learning.

What is Nicotine Use Disorder?

Nicotine Use Disorder is an addiction to nicotine, an alkaloid compound that is found in tobacco in all its forms. Nicotine addicts users by stimulating the brain to release neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which brings contentment and pleasure. It also acts as a stimulant and anxiolytic. Risks associated with smoking, chewing, and otherwise using tobacco to satisfy nicotine cravings include heart disease, stroke, chronic lung diseases, various forms of cancer, complications from diabetes, serious eye conditions, and oral diseases.

Questions About Substance Use Disorder Treatment

What happens at a substance use evaluation?

During an assessment, clients are asked a wide range of questions about themselves. This includes general questions about themselves and their family, but they are also asked to detail their substance use, its consequences, any past experiences involving substance use, and their goals regarding services to which they may be referred. Clients are also asked to identify personal strengths. Clinicians try to make the experience a practice of self-efficacy for the client in becoming involved with the substance use disorder treatment and gain confidence that they can recover.

What is involved in a substance use disorder treatment plan?

Referred to as a behavioral health service plan, this is an individualized plan devised between a client and provider regarding the client’s treatment that includes evidence-based practices. The plan is divided between goals, objectives, and interventions:

  • Goals are what the client hopes to achieve by completing our treatment services.
  • Objectives are what the client will need to do in order to meet their goals. They should be measurable and specific.
  • Interventions are what the staff members will do to help the clients meet their goals.

What are evidence-based practices?

Treatments offered at Lake Area Recovery Center (LARC) are evidence-based practices. This means that:

  1. Our treatments have been thoroughly researched, subjected to scientific study, and documented as being successful in peer-reviewed, published research.
  2. Our therapies offer a consistent outcome in line with objectives of the treatment, independent of environment.
  3. Our treatments are recognized as being evidence-based by reputable organizations and are standardized and repeatable.
  4. Our techniques promote long-term recovery.

LARC works hard to combine proven scientific evidence and medical expertise with each individual’s personal situation and needs to craft a tailored treatment plan.

What is behavioral therapy?

Behavioral therapy is a proven, evidence-based practice that can be used in conjunction with medication to help clients overcome addiction. Most often, behavioral treatment can help patients to pinpoint a root cause or aggravator of their addiction. This practice can boost overall success in long-term recovery by helping patients to manage stress, avoid high-risk situations that could lead to relapse, reinforce positive behaviors, and develop more effective coping strategies to use in everyday life. 

Using both medicines and behavioral therapy together can stimulate separate but complementary mechanisms in the brain that work together for a better outcome. That said, just getting help is the main goal, whatever method you’re most comfortable with and motivated to seek out. Behavioral therapy can be implemented for clients working through various types of addiction and substance use disorders, along with other behavioral conditions.

How long does addiction recovery take?

Our substance use disorder treatment programs range from a few weeks to 1 or 2 years in length. The length of addiction recovery depends on the background and needs of the individual, which includes the level of care that they require during their recovery, the progress they are making, and any relapses they may experience. Examples include:

Patients will often undergo multiple recovery programs that address not just the substance use disorder but also harmful and compulsive behaviors that may accompany the addiction, such as anger problems, domestic abuse, and criminal behavior.

What is addiction counseling?

Addiction counseling includes individual one-on-one sessions with a counselor and group sessions where all of the residential clients will meet with a counselor. It identifies the risks, emotions, and situations that could lead back to substance use and helps clients to develop the skills and strategies needed to address them.

The 12-step self-help approach to overcoming addiction is also a valuable tool. At LARC, we offer addiction recovery programs that incorporate dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) with the 12-step program. If necessary, we encourage our clients to seek out this help–or other community-based 12-step programs–in combination with their medication-assisted treatment program. Check out our resources page, where you can find countless ways to contact local organizations that connect you with trained professionals and an invaluable support network.

What is recovery housing?

Addiction recovery housing provides 24-hour residence to individuals with substance use disorders who are receiving treatment at our residential treatment centers, usually for a period of 30-90 consecutive days.

What are residential treatment centers and how do they work?

Residents in our Ohio recovery housing facilities receive treatment for their substance use disorders in our residential treatment centers. Through specialized, evidence-based programs, residential treatment centers offer a highly-structured environment that helps residents overcome their addictions, achieve sobriety, and live a more productive life.

What is an intensive outpatient (IOP) program?

An intensive outpatient (IOP) program does not require detoxification or around-the-clock supervision. It was developed to target the needs of individuals not capable of remaining alcohol- or drug-free on a typical outpatient regimen. Patients in IOP programs can live at home while they receive treatment.

What is medication-assisted treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines non-addictive medications with addiction counseling and behavioral therapies while treating an individual with a substance use disorder. These medications help individuals overcome intense cravings during the first year of addiction recovery and can help prevent relapses.

MAT for Opioid Addiction

Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®) and extended release naltrexone (Vivitrol®) are all proven medication-assisted treatment options for opioid use disorder. These therapies are used to prevent withdrawal symptoms while also reducing cravings and blocking the effects of opioids. LARC offers both Suboxone and Vivitrol treatment programs.

MAT for Alcohol Addiction

Vivitrol® is a proven medication-assisted treatment that is used at LARC to treat alcohol use disorder. Much like it does for clients dealing with OUD, this effective medication helps those with an addiction to alcohol to experience reduced cravings while preventing typical withdrawal symptoms.

What is a drug court program?

Drug courts only handle defendants with felony or misdemeanor drug cases, usually nonviolent offenders with substance use disorders. Probation/parole officers and/or judges in a drug court refer offenders in active cases to local addiction recovery services such as Lake Area Recovery Center. By successfully completing addiction recovery programs through a drug court, participants can have their prison sentences reduced or expunged.

Questions About Lake Area Recovery Center

How do I pay for treatment if I am unemployed and/or uninsured?

Our admission policies are not based upon the ability to pay. In no instance should you consider postponing or terminating treatment because of financial or payment difficulties. We operate on a sliding fee scale based on your monthly income, and in many instances arrangements can be made for payment by third-party sources such as Medicaid. Financial hardship should not be a barrier to someone seeking help in overcoming their substance use disorder. See our client handbook to learn more about how to pay for our services.

Why do you use the term “substance use disorder” instead of “substance abuse?”

We believe that the term “substance abuse” carries a negative stigma, implying that individuals are to blame for their own addiction problems because they are weak-minded and cannot control their impulses. This downplays addiction to a moral or criminal issue. People with addiction can then start to feel shame and refuse to seek treatment as a result. The rejection and shaming experienced by people who are stigmatized for their addiction can drive them to continue or even intensify their drug use. We use the term "substance use disorder" because it rightly acknowledges that addiction is a disease that requires medical care to overcome.

Why do you use the term “residential treatment” instead of “drug rehab?”

“Drug rehab” also carries a negative stigma. When people hear the term “drug rehab,” they tend to think of celebrities or public figures whose recurring battles with addiction are broadcasted and openly criticized. Individuals should be encouraged to seek treatment for their addiction rather than be discouraged and shamed by negative public opinion. We use the term “residential treatment” because it reinforces the fact that addiction is an illness and focuses on the treatment provided to help individuals overcome their addiction.

Please contact the Lake Area Recovery Center with any questions about our addiction recovery and treatment programs.