Addiction and Substance Abuse: Identification and Treatment

Drug addiction in Massachusetts is a common struggle, as it is in the entire United States and the world over. People succumb to drug addiction and other substance use disorders for many reasons; choosing treatment begins with understanding what drug addiction is. Then, drug and alcohol addiction treatment in MA can be effectively chosen and managed. 

First off, drug addiction and substance use disorder are interchangeable terms. When a person frequently uses a drug, their brain and behavior are affected to the level that they can no longer control their use of the substance, leading to substance abuse. Even legal substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana, can become addictive. Many people with substance use disorders struggle with one or more of these, often in addition to illegal substances. Even if a person wants to stop using or abusing substances in Massachusetts, they often are so dependent that they need serious medical and behavioral help to succeed. 

 

How Drug Addiction Happens

Addiction and Substance Abuse: Identification and TreatmentSubstance abuse in Massachusetts can happen slowly or quickly, depending on the person’s body type and chemical makeup, the substance itself, and the person’s lifestyle, mental health, and emotional health. Therefore, using any drug just once can begin the slippery slope toward a substance use disorder. Sometimes, even prescribed medications—such as opioid pain relievers—can turn into drug addiction because of the way that the substance affects brain and body function. 

 

 

Identifying Substance Abuse in Massachusetts

There are several symptoms and changes in a person’s lifestyle and behavior to look out for that indicate the use of a drug has turned into addiction or a substance use disorder. 

 

  • Feeling a need for the drug each day or several times during the day
  • Intense urges that block out thoughts or desires for healthy things 
  • Needing more of the substance to attain the desired effect
  • Frequently consuming or using more than was intended
  • Ensuring that there is a constant supply or availability of the drug
  • Spending money intended for other things on the substance
  • Forgoing responsibilities or obligations in favor or use
  • Letting go of relationships or social activities because of substance use 
  • Hurting oneself or others intentionally or unintentionally as a result of drug use
  • Participating in risky or out-of-character behavior to obtain the drug or when under the influence of it 
  • Spending the majority of one’s time obtaining and using the substance and recovering from use 
  • Multiple failed attempts to stop using 
  • Withdrawal symptoms during attempts to get sober 

 

Treatment for Substance Abuse in Massachusetts

Just as every person’s path toward substance abuse is unique, successful drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Massachusetts is different for everyone as well. However, several methods and treatments have proven successful for many types of substance use disorders, including alcohol. Addiction and Substance Abuse: Identification and Treatment

 

  • Supervised detox and withdrawal programs – Detoxing from a drug is hard, uncomfortable, and often painful work. The body becomes dependent on the particular substance and brain functioning changes. So, when the person stops using it, they go through an intense period often characterized by nausea, vomiting, chills, pain, and general shock to the system. Detox should always be done under the care of a medical team to ensure stability and safety as well as the strength to continue journeying to sobriety. 
  • Behavioral therapy and counseling – Several types of therapy have proven successful in treating drug addiction, including motivational therapy, talk therapy, family counseling, and behavior modification. The patient’s history, personality, type of use disorder, and past failures should be taken into account when choosing the appropriate modality to help them make a successful recovery. 
  • Medications for specific addictions – Scientists and doctors have developed several medications to aid in the restoration of normal brain functioning when recovering from nicotine, alcohol, and opioid addictions. When a person has multiple addictions, they should use multiple medications as each one treats particular areas of the brain and body. 
  • Residential treatment programs – Residential treatment programs help patients learn to develop coping skills, relational strategies, and independence regarding their sobriety. These homes are safe, structured, substance-free residences where people work together to get and stay sober. 
  • Mental health evaluation and therapy – Oftentimes, one of the root causes of drug addiction is a mental health disorder. Therefore, the disorder must be identified and treated if the person is going to have the best chance at long-term sobriety.  
  • Long-term evaluation and care – Life is full of pressures, hardships, and triggering situations. No matter how long a person has been sober, they are still at risk of relapse. Therefore, they should always have access to high-quality medical and behavioral health services to ensure that they can continue staying sober. 

 

Final Thoughts

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek out help for drug addiction treatment in Massachusetts right away. Sobriety doesn’t need to be achieved alone; having supportive and high-quality care makes the journey more attainable and success more likely. 

 

 
Reviewed by Ed Lepage, Executive Director

Ed Lepage completed the drug and alcohol certificate program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has been working in the substance abuse dependency field for the past seven years. He has also worked extensively in peer recovery-based programs offering “real-world experience” to those that suffer from substance use dependency. Full Bio