New to Addiction and Want to Help a Loved One?

Do you suspect your child, spouse, or friend might have a substance use problem? If you are feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, you are not alone.

Suspecting Drug Use

Stages of Substance Use

People who become addicted to drugs or alcohol typically go through predictable stages of abuse. Understanding these stages can help you recognize a problem and seek help before substance use becomes a dependence. View more

Risk Factors for Addiction

Most experts believe anyone can become addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Some substances, like nicotine and heroin, are so highly addictive that using them excessively or on a daily basis can lead to addiction in anyone. However, most people who try substances do not progress to heavy use or addiction.

That said, any substance use during the teen and young adult years is a concern. The human brain continues to develop well into one’s twenties, making the adolescent and young adult years a critical time for establishing healthy behavior and habits. Substance use during these years creates potential for a variety of long-term negative effects. Ninety percent of people with addictions started using substances in their teen years. View more

Starting the Conversation

When a family member is drinking too much, using drugs, or struggling with a mental disorder, your support can be key to getting them the treatment they need. Starting the conversation is the first step to getting help. View more

Signs of Use Teen or Young Adult Drug Use

Figuring out if your child is using substances can be challenging. Many of the signs and symptoms are typical teen or young adult behavior. Many are also symptoms of mental health issues, including depression or anxiety.

If you have reason to suspect use, don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution. Prepare to take action and have a conversation during which you can ask direct questions like “Have you been drinking, vaping, or using drugs?” No parent wants to hear “yes” but being prepared for how you would respond can be the starting point for a more positive outcome. View more

Understanding Addiction

Brain Development

As the parent of a teen, have you found yourself looking at your child, wondering “Why would you do that?” From mood swings to risk taking, “normal” teenage behavior can be confusing and exasperating.

Research reveals that patterns of brain development during these formative years play a significant role in shaping teens’ behavior. In other words, there’s a biological reason why teens often act the way they do.

The science of brain development reveals why teens are responsive to new experiences and influences, both positive and negative. This makes the teen years a period of great promise, but also of potential risk, especially for addiction. That’s why preventing and delaying substance use during this time is so important to their long-term health. View more

Finding Treatment

Finding Quality Treatment

3 steps to accessing care

  1. If you have insurance: Contact your insurer. Ask about your coverage and whether they have a network of preferred providers for you to use. If you don’t have insurance: Each state has funding to provide treatment for people without insurance coverage. Find where to call for information about payment for services here.
  2. Review the websites of the providers and see if they have the five signs of quality treatment detailed below.
  3. Call for an appointment. If they can’t see you or your family member within 48 hours, find another provider. One indicator of quality is the ability to get an appointment quickly. Many programs offer walk-in services. Look for programs that can get you or a family member into treatment quickly.

5 signs of quality treatment.

You can use these questions to help decide about the quality of a treatment provider and the types of services offered. Quality programs should offer a full range of services accepted as effective in treatment and recovery from substance use disorders and should be matched to a person’s needs.

  1. Accreditation: Has the program been licensed or certified by the state? Is the program currently in good standing in the state? Is the staff qualified? Good quality programs will have a good inspection record and both the program and the staff should have received training in treatment of substance use and mental disorders and be licensed or registered in the state. Does the program conduct satisfaction surveys? Can they show you how people using their services have rated them?
  2. Medication: Does the program offer FDA approved medication for recovery from alcohol and opioid use disorders? At this point in time, there are no FDA approved medications to help to prevent relapse from other problem substances.
  3. Evidence-Based Practices: Does the program offer treatments that have been proven to be effective in treating substance use disorders including medication management therapies, such as motivational therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, drug and alcohol counseling, education about the risks of drug and alcohol use, and peer support? Does the program either provide or help to obtain medical care for physical health issues?
  4. Families: Does the program include family members in the treatment process? Family members have an important role in understanding the impact of addiction on families and providing support.
  5. Supports: Does the program provide ongoing treatment and supports beyond just treating the substance issues? For many people addiction is a chronic condition and requires ongoing medication and supports. Quality programs provide treatment for the long term which may include ongoing counseling or recovery coaching and support, and helps in meeting other basic needs like sober housing, employment supports, and continued family involvement. View more

Treatment Costs Whether Insured or Uninsured

When your top priority is helping a sick loved one get well, it’s overwhelming to add financial hurdles to the mix. We know that making treatment more accessible and affordable requires advocacy and work at the policy level. What can you do when your child needs treatment now?

Paying for treatment – whether it’s covered by insurance or not – can loom large in making treatment decisions. But to the greatest extent possible, your child’s treatment plan should be based on their individual needs. Effective treatment is provided in different settings (inpatient or outpatient) and at different levels or care and may incorporate medication. Understanding the types of treatment available will be important as you navigate this portion of the journey. View more

Treatment Types Available

For most people, ‘treatment’ conjures images of detox or a residential rehab facility. In reality, detox (detoxification) is not treatment – it only addresses the physical symptoms of withdrawal – and a residential program is just one of a variety of options.

Treatment for substance use disorder can take place in different settings (inpatient or outpatient) and at different degrees of intensity. Typically, one’s treatment plan is designed to address their physical, psychological, emotional, and social issues, in addition to their substance use. It addresses the type of substance too, as in the case of medications for opioid use disorder.

Before you make any decisions, take time to understand what treatment is, what it isn’t, and the options available. View more