Substance Use Disorders

The substance use disorders are characterized by a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to significant impairment or distress in the person’s personal, work, and/or social lives. Maladaptive patterns of substance use are manifested by increasing tolerance to the substance, withdrawal symptoms in the absence of use, and increased time spent in obtaining the substance.

Important advances have been made in the treatment of substance use disorders. Particularly in the treatment of opiate dependence, there are outpatient options available that help to stabilize and ultimately wean patients off opiates.

Suboxone and Opiate dependence
Suboxone is the first opioid medication approved for the treatment of opiate dependence in an outpatient setting. It is prescribed just as other medications and does not require daily visits to a clinic, as in methadone treatment. Suboxone is used to detox patients from heroin and pain medications and can be used in maintenance treatment or tapered off entirely. Opiate dependence, as in most other dependencies, is a multidimensional condition that severely limits functioning. As such, suboxone is one component in comprehensive treatment for successful recovery. Suboxone can be helpful to suppress opiate withdrawal, decrease cravings, eliminate illicit opiate use, block the effect of other opiates, and help the patient remain in treatment. For further information, please refer to these sites:
www.suboxone.com
www.buprenorphine.samhsa.gov
Alcohol dependence
Alcohol is prevalent, and alcohol dependence is a common problem. Alcohol dependence involves a maladaptive pattern of use, with markedly increased consumption of alcohol or markedly increased frequency of use, leading to significant work and social impairment. Alcohol dependence is marked by persistent, unsuccessful efforts to reduce drinking and continued drinking despite knowledge of recurrent problems caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
Given its prevalence in social and work-related settings, alcohol dependence can be difficult to treat, and treatment therefore requires a comprehensive approach that addresses biological propensities for dependence, environmental triggers, and medications that help to suppress cravings. Generally, optimal treatment involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication management.
Cocaine dependence
Cocaine dependence involves a maladaptive pattern of cocaine use with markedly increased amounts of cocaine use or markedly increased frequency of use, leading to significant impairment at work and/or in personal life. Cocaine dependence is also marked by persistent, unsuccessful efforts to cut use and continued use despite knowledge of recurrent problems caused or exacerbated by use. Treatment of cocaine dependence requires substantive behavioral changes supplemented by medications that address underlying symptoms.