Skip to content Skip to footer

What Is Substance Use Disorder & How Is It Treated?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11% of people in the U.S., over 12 use illegal drugs. But not everyone who uses illegal drugs has substance use disorder (SUD). Along the same line, many legal substances such as alcohol, medications prescribed by a doctor, or tobacco may be legal, but people can abuse them. So what is substance use disorder exactly?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a brain disease that impacts your behavior. Over time, it leads to an inability to stop using the substance without intervention and treatment.

If you have SUD, you may experience negative consequences, such as:

  • Legal troubles
  • Health problems
  • Losing your kids
  • Destroying important relationships
  • Money woes

On more than one occasion, a loved one may have said to you, “Why can’t you just quit?”

The answer? You can’t because you have substance use disorder. You may want to quit. In fact, you tell yourself every day you’ll stop tomorrow. But it doesn’t matter. You’re no longer in control. Instead, the substance is.

But this isn’t an excuse to continue down this path. Without a doubt, anyone can overcome substance use disorder with the right support and desire to change.

What is substance use disorder? It’s a disease. So it can be treated.

How Is Substance Use Disorder Treated?

Professionals treat substance use disorder using a series of evidence-based and complementary therapies, such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, in which you identify habits and thought patterns that don’t serve you and replace them with healthier habits
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy, in which you learn to stay focused on your point of power in the present moment rather than worrying about the past or future. You learn to listen to what your emotions are telling you and respond more effectively in life.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment, for people with SUD and another mental health disorder like depression or anxiety.
  • Group and individual counseling, where you’ll learn skills to manage your addiction and practice them with others to prepare for the real-world
  • Recreational therapy, where you’ll explore who you are and all that life has to offer through fun activities
  • Music and art therapy, where you’ll learn to express yourself in constructive ways

In these therapies, you begin to re-write the script of your life. At the same time, you’ll re-take control. What is substance use disorder if it no longer controls you? It becomes powerless as you reclaim your life. The great thing about these therapies is that they’re 100% individualized. Professionals work with you to customize and personalize a program to meet your unique needs.

How Does Atlantic Recovery Center Assist Those with SUD?

ARC offers clients a warm and tranquil environment where they can begin learning new skills to manage addiction. As you do, you begin to heal the body and mind. Our smaller, more intimate settings (only seven beds) means you get more of the individualized care you need to experience the best outcome.

In our programs, you’ll learn coping skills, social skills, employment skills, life skills, and more. These establish the framework for a happier, healthier, more productive life without your substance of choice.

We offer these and other treatments in several levels of care to meet your unique needs.


People still experiment with drugs or alcohol every day despite the dangers of substance abuse. Meanwhile, those who’re already “hooked” continue to abuse the addictive substances regardless of the harmful effects. While early intervention can help minimize the dangers for persons in the early stages of addiction, those with a substance use disorder will need treatment at an addiction rehab center in FL or a state of their choice.


Substance abuse can lead to a substance use disorder (SUD), also known as addiction. Addiction is a chronic, complex, and relapsing brain disorder that is widespread in the US. Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that 19.7 million Americans aged 12 or older had a SUD related to alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year.

Street drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and meth and prescription opioids were among the most common drugs involved. Of the 19.7 million people, only about 4.0 million received substance use treatment in the past year. The others likely continued to be at risk of the dangers of substance abuse.


Anyone who abuses alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription medication can suffer the following short-term or long-term consequences:

#1: Brain changes: Prolonged drug and alcohol abuse cause changes in brain functions. These changes can affect your thinking, judgment, and behavior for a long time. In fact, many people struggling with addiction are unable to perform daily functions because of brain damage.

#2: Medical problems: Cirrhosis of the liver, memory problems, heart problems, seizures, stroke, and HIV are some of the health risks involved. You may even develop a co-occurring disorder, such as anxiety or depression, which can worsen the addiction.

#3: Financial problems: Drugs and alcohol cost money and may, at some point, drain family finances. Job loss because of a drinking or drug problem can render you unable to support your family. Homelessness or dependency can occur as a result.

#4: Broken relationships: Addiction causes a lot of domestic disputes between spouses or parent and child. Distrust, frustration, shame, and resentment are some of the negative emotions felt by family members. These feelings can drive a wedge between the addicted individual and his loved ones.

#5: Difficulty quitting: It is hard to give up booze or drugs because changes in brain function will make you believe you need the substance to survive. Even if you try to quit on your own, which is unsafe, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can prevent you from recovering.


Hopefully, knowing the dangers of substance abuse will prevent you from using drugs or alcohol. At the end of the day, you’ll have to ask yourself whether the risks are worth the fleeting moments of pleasure. Even if you’re already trapped in addiction, it’s not too late. We can customize an integrative treatment plan to help you recover and return to a life of sobriety. Our professional addiction recovery specialists will evaluate you and decide which of these addiction treatment programs is suitable for you:

  • Outpatient rehab
  • Inpatient rehab
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Residential addiction treatment program

Treatment begins with medical detox. You can later transition to therapy, once acute withdrawal symptoms subside. In some cases, the client may need substance use and co-occurring disorder treatment. The whole aim of treatment is to help you find positive ways to deal with life problems instead of self-medicating with addictive substances. We can achieve this through evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, Gestalt therapy, or psychotherapy. We are aware that the dangers of substance abuse also impact the family and can provide family therapy to help heal those affected.

Atlantic Recovery Center is located in Davie, FL. However, we admit clients from all across the US. Call us at 1-866-824-5193 to talk to an admissions counselor.

For many individuals, this will be a step-down program, starting at the top and working down to less strenuous levels of care. Others may succeed by starting in PHP or intensive outpatient.

The Most Common Causes of Substance Abuse to Watch

Substance abuse can seem like a strange problem to many people. Why can some people try a drug once or twice and never develop an addiction? Why do others immediately suffer addiction? The causes of substance abuse can help to explain many of these elements. Please note that these are not the only causes of this problem but merely the most common. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Atlantic Recovery Center if you have any more questions that we can answer for you.


Over the years, many people have come up with theories to explain drug use. Most of these have been pretty unsatisfactory and do little to solve this concern. However, Medline Plus compiled many of these causes and described them. Just a few potential causes of substance abuse include the following:

  • A person’s genetic predisposition to substance abuse
  • The type of drug a person uses
  • Peer pressure from friends and family members
  • Environmental factors
  • Mental health concerns
  • Chaotic lifestyle or an impulsive personality

Doctors have found one or more of each of these concerns in many people who abuse drugs. Some individuals will have one or more of these traits, while others may have almost all of them. Therefore, it is critical to breakdown some of the most important to understand this danger – mental health problems and the environment in which a person experiences life.


Mental health problems don’t always cause substance abuse. Many people with these issues reach out to professional help to manage them. However, some mental health problems remain the most significant influence on substance abuse. Sadly, the use of these drugs does little to help a person’s mental state. Even worse, drugs are more likely to cause these problems to worsen and may trap somebody in a cycle from which it is hard to escape.

For example, depression and anxiety may trigger drug abuse in many. The soothing experience some drugs cause may trigger a person to come back to them repeatedly. Alternatively, those with confrontational or risk-taking personalities – including anti-social disorders – may take substance simply because they know that they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, this problem can cause a situation known as co-morbid disorders. When these occur, a person is more likely to struggle to quit drugs.


The environment is another huge factor when discussing the reasons people abuse drugs. Often, this problem starts early in a person’s life. For example, a person who sees their parents smoke cigarettes and drink beer is likely to copy them. The same holds for harsher drugs. Parents who shoot up heroin in front of their kids may inspire them to try. Those who live with friends or family members who abuse drugs as an adult may find it hard to stay away from substances.

As a result, people often need to go away from the environment that triggers their substance abuse. This step is usually a tough one because people are often quite comfortable with a drug-using life. Sadly, exposure may help them feel more at home using drugs than not using them. As a result, outpatient and inpatient care may be necessary. These treatment options can break a person from this destructive cycle of behavior and ensure that they are protected from the dangers of substance abuse as much as possible.


Caring for substance abuse takes on many forms, including:

  • Detoxification of harmful substances
  • Mental and psychological treatment
  • Nutritional care to boost overall health
  • Behavior adjustments
  • Trigger management
  • Aftercare to enhance recovery

At a typical rehab center, you can receive these and many other types of care. In this way, you can learn more about why you abuse drugs and take care of addiction for good.


Please call Atlantic Recovery Center today at 1-866-824-5193 to learn more about the causes of substance abuse. Our professionals offer a small and intimate recovery facility. Residential care is limited to just seven people at a time, ensuring a more focused recovery setting. So please verify your insurance to get started.

Is a substance calling the shots in your life? It’s time to reclaim your health and happiness in recovery. Call us at 1-866-824-5193 to explore your options.