Treatment Options for Substance Use Disorders


Psychotherapy treatment involves counseling. Most counseling programs, for substance use disorders, use multiple interventions or theories. The most effective are cognitive-behavior theory, family therapy, motivational therapy and 12 step programs. Depending on the substance used a medical detox may be required first. Substances requiring supervised medical detox include benzodiazepines, alcohol and opiates. Detox from these substances is dangerous and may result in death, if not done under a doctor's supervision, usually in a hospital setting. This is not an all-inclusive list and may include other drugs due to an individual's health, medications and risk factors.

Medication Management

Psychotropic medications are considered when co-occurring disorders, such as depression, complicate recovery from a substance use. Some medications may also help with the physical discomfort of withdraw. Other medications can treat co-occurring mental health problems. It is important to have a comprehensive physical exam and discussion with your treatment provider.

Treatment Settings

Treatment for substance use disorder is provided in different types of settings determined by the individual's needs and medical stability. Inpatient hospitalization and residential treatment facilities are the most intense level of care and appropriate for individuals that require medical monitoring. Intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization offers day programing including therapy and some medical services. Support groups and 12 step groups, such as Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, usually relay on peer support (no professional counselors are present).

Veterans who are eligible to receive care under the Veterans Community Care program can locate a provider here:

Updated: 4/12/2021 11:18:08 AM