treatment & Recovery

Substance use disorders

Addiction, clinically referred to as a substance use disorder, is a complex disease of the brain and body that involves compulsive use of one or more substances. A teenager might have a substance use disorder if they are unable to control their use, it interferes with daily life, or involves erratic behavior. If left untreated, addiction can become more severe, disabling, and life-threatening.

All substance use disorders are treatable regardless of whether they are mild, moderate or severe. The earlier families intervene and take steps to help their teen or other loved one, the better.

Substance use treatment

When it comes to treatment, there is no “one size fits all” approach. Treatment for substance use disorder can take place in inpatient or outpatient settings and at varying degrees of intensity. A doctor might recommend individual counseling with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or addiction counselor. They may also recommend special rehabilitation and/or treatment programs including self-help groups for kids and families. Teens with co-existing mental health disorders will more than likely be given a treatment plan that addresses those conditions as well.

Seeking help for your teen

Whether your teen has just begun experimenting with alcohol or drugs, or they are in the later stages of addiction, it’s never the wrong time to seek help. If you notice signs of substance use or abuse in your teen, it’s important to address them immediately.

For help locating a provider, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains and manages the most comprehensive searchable database of treatment providers across the country. You can reach their helpline at 800-662-4357.