According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 46.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) in 2021. That’s about 16.5% of the U.S. population in that age group.
Substance abuse is a serious behavioral health issue involving the continued and excessive use of substances such as nicotine, alcohol, drugs or other substances. It can lead to serious health consequences, such as organ damage, cardiovascular issues, impaired cognitive functioning and mental health issues. It can also wreak havoc on the person’s social life, leading to strained relationships with family, friends and romantic partners.
Despite this, the same survey found that out of the 40.7 million people with a substance use disorder did not receive any kind of treatment at a specialty facility. This implies that most people struggle with substance abuse alone.
Valle Vista Health System believes that no one should suffer alone. One of the biggest barriers to receiving help is a lack of awareness, which is why we are here to explore the different kinds of substance abuse programs. Below, we explore the negative impacts of substance use disorders, explain what programs are available and highlight how to decide which program is a better fit for you.
The Negative Impacts of Substance Use Disorders
Addiction can impact anyone, regardless of age. When considering whether addiction is a serious issue, one need only consider the impacts of substance use.
Substance abuse impacts on adults
Adults have many responsibilities and concerns. Substance use disorders can cause significant disruptions in their lives.
For example, deteriorating physical health and increased mental health issues are common consequences of substance abuse among adults. Because of their addiction, adults may find it harder to take care of themselves and may develop chronic conditions such as liver disease, lung cancer or heart disease. These issues can lead to a worsened quality of life or, in some cases, to premature death.
Another common impact of substance abuse in adults involves their professional life and financial stability. Adults experiencing substance abuse may experience decreased job performance, tardiness, absenteeism and, in many cases, job loss. This can lead to financial issues, such as difficulty paying bills and supporting their loved ones. Financial issues are often worsened by the person’s compulsive need to spend large sums to acquire substances.
Adults may feel like their lives have been caught in a negative spiral because of their addiction, which is why substance abuse programs can be so beneficial.
Substance abuse impacts on adolescents
Adolescents often face many unique challenges and stressors. Substance abuse can be incredibly damaging to them.
Adolescents are at an age where they are still growing and learning each day. Substance use can cause impaired brain development, which can cause long-term cognitive deficits. This can lead to negative decision-making, impulse control and emotional regulation.
Substance use can also harm academic performance. Much like adults with their professional lives, adolescents struggling with addiction may have difficulty maintaining good grades and attending class. This can make it more difficult for teens to pass the school year or, worst case, lead to them dropping out.
Another critical impact of substance abuse on adolescents is that they find themselves at an increased risk of developing substance dependence. Adolescents’ brains are more vulnerable to the addictive effects of drugs and alcohol, which increases the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder in adulthood. This is why it is important to tackle behavioral issues in teens early on.
Different Kinds Of Substance Abuse Programs
People may have various reasons for not seeking help for substance abuse programs. Common reasons include the fear of stigma and consequences for substance abuse, lack of awareness about how to access resources and financial barriers.
Inpatient substance abuse programs
An inpatient program for substance abuse treatment is a type of program where people receive addiction treatment while in a residential facility. In inpatient programs, patients live in a residential or rehab facility during the duration of the program. This usually lasts a few weeks but can last longer depending on the person’s individual needs or the severity of their situation.
Inpatient substance abuse programs are designed for people with severe addiction issues. They are meant to help those who need around-the-clock care and are especially beneficial to those who need to undergo medically supervised detoxification.
Inpatient programs have many benefits. They provide patients with 24/7 access to care and enable them to live in a distraction-free environment. Furthermore, patients live surrounded by a supportive community of peers going through a similar recovery process.
Inpatient environments also typically provide integrated treatment for those suffering from both a substance use disorder and mental health issue (otherwise known as a co-occurring disorder). This holistic approach to treatment enables the patient to heal both the body and mind before reintegrating into the world.
Outpatient substance abuse programs
An outpatient program for substance abuse treatment is a type of program where people commute to a treatment center, doctor’s office or therapist to receive treatment. Depending on the intensity of the outpatient program, patients attend therapeutic sessions 3-5 times per week for anywhere between 3-6 hours per visit.
Outpatient substance abuse programs are designed for people with mild to moderate addiction issues. They help those who would like to break free of their addiction while still being mindful of their daily work or educational responsibilities. These types of programs are highly beneficial to those with strong supportive home environments, as this enables them to reside in a safe environment while still receiving addiction treatment.
There are many benefits to outpatient programs. They provide more flexibility and scheduling options and are usually more inexpensive than inpatient options. They also enable patients to start practicing vital addiction coping skills independently. In outpatient settings, patients are also able to gain access to individualized treatment plans tailored to their specific needs and goals.
Outpatient services can also help those struggling with addiction by providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
How To Decide Between an Inpatient or Outpatient Program for Substance Abuse
Choosing between an inpatient program or an outpatient program for addiction can be difficult. Each option provides its own unique set of benefits which require careful consideration. However, there are some key factors to consider when deciding to seek addiction treatment:
- The severity of the substance use disorder: As previously mentioned, inpatient programs are typically better suited for those with severe addiction because of the structured environment and 24/7 access to care they provide. Outpatient programs, on the other hand, may be better suited for someone who can maintain abstinence from substances without constant supervision.
- Level of medical and emotional care needed: Inpatient programs provide comprehensive access to care. They provide integrated treatment that includes access to medication that can help patients with withdrawal symptoms. Outpatient programs, on the other hand, may not have the same level of medical support. However, they still provide access to counseling and support groups.
- Daily life responsibilities: Inpatient programs require that the person temporarily live in a treatment facility. This means that they should be able to take time off work, school or domestic responsibilities during the period they are in the program. Outpatient programs, instead, enable the person to still receive care while pursuing their daily responsibilities with little disruption. They also enable people to continue using their existing support networks (whether that be friends or family).
Help Is Right Here
If you are experiencing substance abuse concerns, Valle Vista Health System is here to help. For over 40 years, we have made it our mission to provide comprehensive and compassionate behavioral health care to the members of our community.
Located in Greenwood, Indiana, Valle Vista Health System provides supportive inpatient and outpatient programs to adults and adolescents suffering from substance abuse issues. Our dedicated team of behavioral health professionals provides individualized treatment to each patient, paving the path toward renewed mental well-being and long-term recovery.