Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

Reclaiming Lives: Comprehensive Treatments for Substance Use Disorder

Table of Contents

Looking for a path out of the cycle of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)? The key might be in comprehensive substance abuse treatments. They can help you understand the nature of SUD, spot the signs, and initiate a journey toward recovery.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD), also known as drug addiction, is a medical condition that can severely affect a person’s life. It involves the recurrent use of drugs, leading to health problems, disability, and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home.

The good news is that there are effective treatments available that can help reclaim lives and pave the way toward recovery.

Understanding Substance Use Disorder: A Brief Overview

SUD is a mental health condition diagnosed by the American Psychiatric Association in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

It is marked by a problematic pattern of drug use leading to significant impairment or distress. This problematic substance use could involve illegal drugs like heroin or legal substances like alcohol or prescription medicines.

The Impact of Substance Use Disorder: A Snapshot

Substance use disorder affects millions of people worldwide, with consequences that ripple out to family members, friends, and society.

It can lead to health complications like infectious diseases and mental disorders. More broadly, drug abuse contributes to social problems like crime, domestic violence, and unemployment.

Recognizing Substance Use Disorder

Knowing the signs and symptoms of SUD is crucial. Early detection can lead to early intervention and improved outcomes for individuals struggling with substance use.

Signs and Symptoms of SUD

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a crucial first step toward seeking treatment. Symptoms can vary based on the substance used, but there are some common signs to watch out for:

  • Cravings: An intense desire or urge to use the drug can often signify substance use disorder. This craving can consume a person’s thoughts, making it hard to focus on anything else.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: When the drug is not used, withdrawal symptoms may occur. These can include physical ailments like shaking, nausea, and sweating or psychological symptoms such as anxiety or depression.
  • Increased tolerance: Over time, a person may need more of the drug to achieve the same effect. This increased tolerance can indicate a developing addiction.
  • Behavioral changes: Noticing changes in behavior, like neglecting responsibilities or giving up activities once enjoyed, could signal a problematic pattern of substance use.
  • Inability to stop or control substance use: Despite harmful consequences, the person continues using the drug. This could be a sign of drug addiction, as noted by healthcare providers and entities like the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • Health issues: Substance use disorders can lead to various health problems, including mental health disorders, infectious diseases, and other physical ailments.

Do you want to get over your substance abuse disorder? Contact us or call us at (323)307-7997 for more information.

The Importance of Early Detection

Detecting a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in its early stages is crucial. By recognizing the signs of drug misuse promptly, individuals can seek treatment sooner rather than later, improving the effectiveness of drug addiction treatment in the following ways:

  • Preventing escalation: In the early stages of SUD, a person’s brain is still in the process of adapting to substance use. Intervening at this point can halt the progression toward a more severe and potentially more damaging level of addiction.
  • Reducing harm: Early detection and treatment can prevent the onset of severe health issues related to drug abuse. These may include other infectious diseases, mental health disorders, and physical health problems.
  • Enhancing recovery prospects: The earlier treatment is sought, the better the chances of a successful recovery. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has shown that early intervention can improve long-term outcomes, reducing the risk of relapse and promoting a sustainable recovery.
  • Maintaining personal life: Early intervention allows individuals to address their substance use before it heavily impacts their personal life, work commitments, and relationships.

Remember, no matter when a person begins to seek treatment for SUD; there are always effective treatment options available. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Mental Health Services Administration offers resources to find treatment providers, support groups, and outpatient settings that can assist in this journey. And healthcare providers can provide evidence-based therapies, customized according to each person’s needs, to ensure the best chance at recovery. Your journey to a healthier life can start today with just a phone call or a message. Dial us at (323) 307-7997 or drop us a line from our contact page to schedule a consultation. Your path to recovery is one call away.

Getting Diagnosed: The First Step Towards Recovery

A diagnosis of SUD is usually made by a mental health professional following a thorough evaluation. This diagnosis is a critical first step in the treatment process.

Diagnostic Criteria for Substance Use Disorder

Diagnosing Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a key step in the journey toward treatment and recovery. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, provides clear criteria for diagnosing SUD. Here are the key points:

  1. Problematic substance use: This includes a pattern of substance use leading to significant impairment or distress. This could be drug misuse that persists despite negative health or social consequences.
  2. Failed attempts to control use: Despite multiple attempts, the individual finds it challenging to cut down or control substance use. This might include failed attempts at self-regulated detoxification or inpatient treatment.
  3. Spending a lot of time on the substance: This could involve a lot of time spent obtaining the drug, using it, or recovering from its effects.
  4. Cravings: The individual experiences intense cravings or urges to use the substance. These cravings can interfere with the person’s daily life.
  5. Failing responsibilities: The person may repeatedly fail to fulfill responsibilities at home, work, or school due to substance use.
  6. Continued use despite problems: The individual continues to use the substance despite it causing or worsening social or interpersonal problems.
  7. Giving up activities: The person may give up or reduce involvement in important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to substance use.
  8. Risky use: The person may use the substance in situations where it can be physically hazardous.
  9. Worsening situations: Despite knowing that the substance is causing or worsening a physical or psychological problem, the individual continues to use it.
  10. Tolerance: Over time, the person may require more of the substance to achieve the desired effect or find that the same amount has less effect than before.
  11. Withdrawal symptoms: The person experiences withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using the substance.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse disorder, NuView Treatment Center can help. Contact us at (323)307-7997 for more information.

Comprehensive Assessment: Role in Treatment Planning

A comprehensive assessment by a mental health professional is crucial in determining the severity of the SUD and any co-occurring mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. This assessment helps create an individualized treatment plan that’s tailored to your unique situation and needs.

If you or a loved one are dealing with SUD, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call NuView Treatment Center today at (323) 307-7997 or send us a message from our contact page to schedule your consultation. Together, we can begin the journey toward recovery.

Medical Treatments for Substance Use Disorder

There are several effective medical treatments for SUD, including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and detoxification.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): An Overview

MAT involves using medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. It is primarily used for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder.

MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder

Medications like naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram are used in MAT for alcohol use disorder. These medications can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, improving the chances of recovery.

MAT for Opioid Use Disorder

For opioid use disorder, medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are commonly used. These medications can help control substance cravings and withdrawal symptoms, reducing the risk of relapse.

MAT for Stimulant Use Disorder

Currently, no medications are approved for treating stimulant use disorder (cocaine and methamphetamine). However, research is ongoing to find effective medications to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with stimulant use disorder.

Detoxification: The Initial Phase of Treatment

Detoxification, or detox, is the process of removing harmful substances from the body. It’s the first step in treating substance use disorders, especially for those with severe addiction. However, detox alone is not a treatment; it needs to be followed by other treatment methods to be effective.

Role of Primary Care Physicians in SUD Treatment

Primary care physicians play a crucial role in the early detection and treatment of SUD. They can refer patients to appropriate substance abuse treatment services and monitor the patient’s progress.

Behavioral and Psychosocial Treatments

Behavioral and psychosocial treatments are critical components of comprehensive addiction treatment. These include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps individuals understand the link between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It equips them with coping strategies to manage triggers and cravings, aiding in addiction recovery.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is especially useful for those with co-occurring mental illness and SUD. It focuses on skills like mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation, contributing to effective treatment outcomes.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a counseling technique that strengthens a person’s motivation and commitment to change. It helps people overcome their ambivalence towards recovery and engage more actively in treatment.

Contingency Management (CM)

In CM, individuals receive rewards or incentives for maintaining sobriety or engaging in other healthy behaviors. It’s proven effective in treating SUD, especially stimulant use disorders.

Family-Based Therapies

Family therapies involve family members in the treatment process, recognizing their influence on the patient’s recovery. It includes approaches like family therapy, multisystemic therapy, and the family disease model.

Integrated Treatment Approach for Co-occurring Disorders

Many people with SUD also have other mental health conditions. An integrated treatment approach addresses both issues simultaneously for the best outcomes.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis: SUD and Mental Health Disorders

A dual diagnosis occurs when someone has both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. Integrated treatment is crucial for people with a dual diagnosis to ensure they receive the help they need for both conditions.

Integrating Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment

Integrated treatment involves coordinating substance use and mental health services. It may include using medications to manage mental health symptoms while also treating the substance use disorder.

Residential and Outpatient Treatment Programs

Different people need different types of care. Some might benefit from a residential treatment program, while others might do well with outpatient treatment.

Residential Treatment: Pros and Cons

Residential treatment involves an individual staying at a treatment facility for a period of time to focus on their recovery. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  1. Structured Environment: Residential treatment facilities offer a structured environment with set routines, reducing uncertainty and anxiety. This often includes scheduled therapies, activities, and meals.
  2. Intensive Therapy: These programs provide intensive daily therapies, which can include individual therapy, group therapy, and other evidence-based therapies.
  3. Supportive Community: Residents are surrounded by a community of individuals also seeking recovery. The shared experience can foster a supportive network.
  4. Removal from Triggers: By residing at a facility, individuals are removed from environments that might trigger substance use.


  1. Cost: Residential treatment can be costly, potentially creating a barrier for some individuals.
  2. Time Commitment: These programs require a significant time commitment, which might interfere with work, family, or other responsibilities.
  3. Limited Privacy: Residential treatment offers less privacy as individuals are living in a shared environment.
  4. Potential for Stigma: Some individuals may face stigma or judgment from others when disclosing they’re attending a residential treatment program.

Outpatient Treatment: Pros and Cons

Outpatient treatment involves individuals attending treatment sessions while continuing with their day-to-day lives. Here are some pros and cons:


  1. Flexibility: Outpatient programs allow individuals to maintain work, family, and other commitments while receiving treatment.
  2. Lower Cost: Outpatient treatment is often less expensive than residential treatment, making it more accessible for many.
  3. Support from Loved Ones: Individuals can continue to receive support from their family and friends while undergoing treatment.
  4. Real-world Application: Participants can apply the skills and strategies they learn in therapy to their daily lives immediately.


  1. Potential for Distraction: The stresses and distractions of daily life could potentially hinder focus on recovery.
  2. Access to Substances: Unlike residential treatment, outpatient settings don’t provide an environment isolated from potential triggers or access to substances.
  3. Less Intensive: Outpatient programs may not offer the same level of intensity in therapy and support as residential programs.
  4. May not be Sufficient for Severe Cases: Individuals with severe drug addiction or unstable living conditions may require the immersive support of residential treatment.

Choosing the Right Treatment Setting

The choice between residential and outpatient treatment should be based on individual needs, the severity of the substance use disorder, the presence of any co-occurring mental or physical health conditions, and the person’s support network.

The Role of Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Alternative and complementary therapies can support the recovery process alongside medical and behavioral treatments. These include art and music therapy, mindfulness and yoga, and animal-assisted therapy.

Art and Music Therapy in SUD Treatment

Art and music therapies provide creative outlets for expression and healing. They can improve mental health, reduce stress, and enhance self-awareness.

Mindfulness and Yoga: The Role in Recovery

Mindfulness and yoga can help people in recovery manage stress, enhance self-awareness, and improve mental and physical health. These practices can complement other treatments to support recovery.

Animal-Assisted Therapy in SUD Treatment

Interacting with animals can provide comfort, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and increase feelings of social support. Animal-assisted therapy can be a beneficial component of SUD treatment.

Long-term Recovery and Maintenance

Recovery from SUD is a lifelong process. Aftercare and continuity of care, relapse prevention strategies, and lifestyle changes are crucial components of long-term recovery.

Importance of Aftercare and Continuity of Care

Continuing care following initial treatment, often referred to as aftercare, is vital to maintain recovery. It could include ongoing outpatient counseling, group therapy, and support from healthcare providers.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Relapse, or returning to drug use, is common but not inevitable. Relapse prevention strategies, taught during treatment, can help individuals identify triggers, manage cravings, and maintain recovery.

Lifelong Recovery: Coping Skills and Lifestyle Changes

Sustaining recovery often requires lifestyle changes, such as building a supportive social network, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a balanced diet, and pursuing meaningful activities.

Importance of Social Support and Self-Help Groups in Recovery

Social support from family, friends, and self-help groups, can greatly enhance recovery outcomes.

Family Support in SUD Treatment

Support from family members can provide emotional comfort, practical assistance, and help in maintaining a substance-free lifestyle. Family support is often a key component of successful recovery.

Role of Peer Support and Self-Help Groups

Self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, can provide a community of individuals who understand the challenges of recovery. They offer support, shared experiences, and practical advice on managing SUD.

Building a Healthy and Supportive Social Network

Building a healthy and supportive social network, both within and outside of treatment settings, can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of isolation. This network could include peers in recovery, supportive family and friends, and mental health professionals.

We will help you and your loved ones determine the most suitable course of action going forward. Start rebuilding your life, and contact us today.

Stigma, Society, and Substance Use Disorder

The stigma surrounding SUD can be a significant barrier to seeking treatment. Understanding and combatting this stigma and promoting societal support for recovery is crucial.

Understanding and Combating Stigma

Stigma involves negative attitudes and beliefs that stereotype people with SUD. It can be combated by raising awareness, promoting understanding, and challenging stereotypes.

Societal Role in Supporting SUD Recovery

Society plays a significant role in supporting individuals with SUD. This can include supporting policies that improve access to treatment, promoting education and understanding about SUD, and fostering supportive communities.


Recovery from SUD is a journey that requires hope, resilience, and comprehensive, personalized treatment. From medical treatments to behavioral therapies and supportive social networks, every aspect plays a role in reclaiming lives from the grip of SUD.

Effective treatment for SUD must be personalized to the individual’s needs, considering their unique circumstances, co-occurring disorders, and personal preferences. It should also be comprehensive, encompassing a range of treatment options to address all aspects of the person’s life.

Your Path to Recovery Begins at NuView Treatment Center

Are you ready to reclaim your life from Substance Use Disorder (SUD)? NuView Treatment Center is here to guide you every step of the way.

Whether you need intensive outpatient programs, group therapy, or more personalized addiction treatment options, we’re here to provide you with the necessary support.

Remember, the sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances of a successful recovery. Don’t let another day pass by in the struggle with drug misuse. Begin your journey towards a healthier, substance-free future at NuView Treatment Center today. Call us today at (323) 307-7997 or send us a message from our contact page to schedule your consultation. Your recovery is possible, and it begins here.

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McNeely J, Adam A. Substance Use Screening and Risk Assessment in Adults [Internet]. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University; 2020 Oct. Table 3, DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Diagnosing and Classifying Substance Use Disorders [abc] Available from:

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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