Addictive Disorders and Their Treatment

addictive disorder and treatment

Like most things in life, addiction is not black and white. Addictive disorders fall on a spectrum and affect people differently, which is why drug treatment and recovery programs are not one-size-fits-all. If you’re not sure where you or a loved one falls on the spectrum of addiction, here’s an overview of addictive disorders and common treatment options.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse is a pattern of regular drug or alcohol use that has a significant impact on a person’s daily life, although the degree of that impact varies. Some common signs of substance abuse include missing work, avoiding friends and family, giving up hobbies and fun activities, getting in trouble with the law, taking risks, dishonesty, and depressed or suicidal feelings. Substances that can be abused include legal substances (alcohol, prescription drugs) as well as illegal substances (amphetamines, opiates, hallucinogens). 

Substance dependence

Substance dependence involves most of the signs and symptoms of substance abuse, but there are key differences. Substance dependence (also referred to as chemical dependence) is when substance abuse continues despite the significant personal problems that have developed. When substance abuse escalates, so does tolerance—the body needs increased amounts of the substance to get the desired effect. Unfortunately, higher tolerance leads to intensified withdrawal symptoms, which makes it even harder to quit.

Causes of addictive disorders

While addiction might begin as a series of bad choices, there are several underlying factors that determine why one person gets addicted to a substance while someone else doesn’t. Some of those factors may include social pressure, individual personality characteristics, environmental stressors, genetic vulnerability, and psychiatric problems.

Chemical dependency treatments

Most drug and alcohol treatment programs follow a similar procedure, beginning with a medical detoxification and continuing into ongoing therapies. 

  • Detoxification: Performed under the guidance of medical professionals, detoxification involves ensuring withdrawal symptoms are under control, sometimes with the use of medication until the patient is no longer reliant on any substance.
  • Inpatient treatment programs: Recommended for severe addictions, inpatient treatment offers the highest level of treatment care and around-the-clock support from a team of skilled clinicians and therapists. At Alvarado Parkway, our enriched therapy program includes individual and group psychotherapy, medication management, and other evidenced based treatments that have proven successful in helping others get clean and stay sober.  
  • Outpatient treatment programs: Outpatient programs are ideal for people with less-severe addictions, and those who are motivated to stop abusing substances but require a flexible program that will work around their schedule. Our outpatient programs focus on long-term stabilization, medication management, relapse prevention, and community integration, and provide patients with an ongoing support system. 
  • Support groups: Part of the “aftercare” that follows inpatient and outpatient treatment involves support groups that can be tailored to specific substances or demographics, inspiring members to stay committed to sobriety. Family support groups for a patient’s loved ones are also available at most treatment facilities.

Do you or a loved one need treatment help for addictive disorders?

As the leading provider of chemical dependency services in San Diego, Alvarado Parkway Institute has been helping people get sober and stay sober for over 35 years. Our Choose Recovery Program is an effective starting point for those who are ready to make a change in their lives. For more information about our comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, please reach out via the contact form on our website or call our 24-hour referral and crisis line at 619-667-6125.