The Importance of Getting Help for a Substance Use Disorder

The Importance of Getting Help for a Substance Use Disorder

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorders (SUD) are characterized by compulsive use of a substance and often result in severe impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. A substance use disorder is not a disease; it is a behavioral problem that can be treated successfully. However, a person’s substance use disorder does not disappear just because he or she receives treatment.

What Causes Substance Use Disorders?

Although there is no single cause of substance use disorders, they are often the result of a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. The following are some of the factors that may contribute to the development of substance use disorders:

-          A genetic predisposition to substance abuse.

-          Early exposure to substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs.

-          Poor family relationships and parental supervision.

-          The lack of effective substance abuse treatment options.

How Do You Know If You Have A Substance Use Disorder?

People with a substance use disorder usually experience a number of problems related to their substance use. They may:

-          Have difficulty controlling how much they use a substance, such as alcohol, and may be unable to stop using it even when they’re not high.

-          Feel guilty, anxious, angry, depressed, or worthless without the substance.

-          Feel that the substance gives them pleasure or helps them relax.

-          Get in trouble with the law due to their substance use.

-          Lose friends and family because they use substances excessively or are unable to control their use.

The Importance of Getting Help for a Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorders can lead to serious physical and mental health problems, including addiction, overdose, and death. Drug use can also cause damage to the body’s organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, and lungs, as well as to the body’s immune system. People who use drugs may also be more likely to experience sexually transmitted infections and other health problems, including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and violence.

How Can You Help Someone With A Substance Use Disorder?

The most important step in helping someone with a substance use disorder is to get help from a professional. A substance use disorder is a chronic, relapsing disease that requires ongoing treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a substance use disorder, contact your doctor, visit a clinic, or call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Individual counseling

One-on-one counseling sessions are the most effective way to help someone with a substance use disorder. During these sessions, a therapist will work with the person to identify and change harmful behaviors, and teach coping skills to help the person control his or her substance use.

Group counseling

Group counseling, such as 12-step programs, also can be helpful. These groups provide support and understanding for people who struggle with addiction. The 12-step program is a very common form of group counseling that can be found in many drug rehabs.


In some cases, medication can be used to treat the symptoms of a substance use disorder.

Final Words:

Substance use disorders are a leading cause of death and disability in the nation. The good news is that it is a treatable mental health condition. The best way you can help someone with a substance use disorder is by encouraging them to get the treatment they need. People with substance use disorders need help from a doctor, therapist, or counselor. If someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, encourage him or her to get treatment.