Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD)

Substance use disorder is a broad category that includes addiction to a number of agents including alcohol, opioids, stimulants, benzodiazepines, marijuana/cannabis and other agents. Addiction creates physical dependence on the drug, creating compulsive seeking and craving when the drug is available, and agonies of withdrawal when it is not. Recently, science has learned much more about the progressive, chronic disease of addiction, which changes the person’s brain chemistry in a way that he/she cannot understand or control. 

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Symptoms of addiction may include:

  • Overuse of substances
  • Cravings for the substance
  • Unsuccessful attempts to control, decrease, or stop using substances
  • Withdrawal symptoms if substance use is stopped
  • Excessive time spent obtaining, using, or recovering from substances
  • Substance use interferes with relationships, daily living, work, home, school, etc…
  • Increasing the amount of substance used to achieve the same effect


Just like diabetes, heart disease, and other progressive, chronic conditions, addiction must be diagnosed and treated with both a short term and long-term treatment plan. Your IAC specialist will work with you to identify the treatment that best suits your needs, and initiate that therapy, as quickly as possible.  Most of our patients have taken multiple agents such as opioids with methamphetamine, crack/cocaine, benzodiazepines and alcohol. We treat all of our patients with the idea that multiple substances may be involved.

Our treatment embraces the whole individual.  We understand that emotional and social problems often converge at the time difficulties due to addiction have reached an unbearable level.  Your team of medical professionals, therapists, and social workers are seasoned experts in the field of addiction medicine and will help you devise a plan and help guide you towards a  durable recovery. 

  • Your physicians will work with you on your physical health, withdrawal symptoms, medication assisted treatment, and manage your overall plan of care.  
  • Your therapist will work with on behavioral treatments that may include motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and contingency management, as well as family-based treatments. 
  • Your social worker will help identify social issues that interfere with your desire to change your life. These issues will be explored and a plan made to address each of them.  We especially focus of housing, workforce preparedness/job placement, family and legal issues, transportation, and benefits eligibility.
  • Your social worker will help identify and carefully select with you the appropriate peer support groups, 12-step programs, online chat rooms, and/or other approaches to help sustain a path to a durable recovery. 

Risks if Left Untreated

The risks for untreated SUD vary with each substance and can ultimately end in the death.

Please note that the information mentioned above (and elsewhere on this website) is meant to provide general education, and is not intended, and should not be used, to make treatment decision for any particular person. All therapeutic decisions should be made only after consultation with the care team at IAC or other capable providers, that will take into account the patient’s specific circumstances.  Healthcare decisions made without such consultation can be harmful or even fatal.  Any use of information on this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.