Substance Abuse in Adults

Substance use disorders are common problem among adults, and many go untreated: up to 10% of the US population have substance use issues, although only approximately 11% of these receive treatment. Substance use disorders range from problematic use to addiction; research indicates that even those without full-blown addiction problems benefit from behavioral therapy focused on increasing motivation to change, replacing substance use with rewarding activities, improving problem-solving skills, and facilitating positive interpersonal relationships.

Effective treatment of substance use disorders begins with a thorough assessment to identify the function, extent, and impact of the substance abuse, along with underlying mental health symptoms and environmental and relational stressors. In some cases, referral to a higher level of care is indicated, such as a detoxification or residential treatment program. Evidence-based treatment plans may involve some combination of the following: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Substance Abuse (DBT), referral to 12-step programs, and/or referral for psychopharmacology.