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A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Substance Addiction: Symptoms, and Option

Addiction is a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 21 million people in the US struggle with substance use and abuse. This number includes not just illegal drugs but also alcohol and prescription medications. Substance addiction can have devastating consequences for individuals and families. It can lead to job loss, financial ruin, and even death. But there is hope. Substance addiction can be treated, and many people do recover from it. 

We wrote this piece to provide information about the different types of addiction treatment options available for substance addiction, and to help those seeking Richmond addiction treatment options. You will find information about both traditional treatments, such as rehab programs and 12-step groups, and more modern treatments, such as medication-assisted therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. We hope that this information will help you or someone you love to overcome substance addiction and start living a healthy, happy life.

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance addiction is a chronic disease characterized by a strong and persistent craving for a particular substance, coupled with an inability to control one’s use of that substance. This often leads to compulsive behavior and the continued use of the substance despite negative consequences.

How common is substance use?

Substance abuse is a serious problem that affects millions of people around the world. In the United States alone, there are more than 21 million people aged 12 and older who suffer from substance abuse disorders. This means that nearly one in every 10 Americans was dealing with an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

How is substance use diagnosed?

Substance use is diagnosed using a variety of criteria, including self-reported data, observations made by family or friends, and clinical assessments. One of the most commonly used diagnostic tools is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which provides detailed criteria for diagnosing substance abuse and other mental disorders. The DSM criteria for substance abuse include:

• A strong desire or need to use the substance.

• Difficulty controlling the use of the substance, leading to excessive use.

• Use of the substance despite negative consequences, such as job loss or financial problems.

• Tolerance, which refers to needing increasingly larger amounts of the substance to get the desired effect.

• Withdrawal symptoms when stopping use of the substance.

If someone meets two or more of these criteria, they may be diagnosed with substance abuse. However, a diagnosis is ultimately made by a qualified mental health professional based on a comprehensive assessment.

Are there any common symptoms?

There are a number of common symptoms associated with drug addiction. These include:

  • A strong desire to take the drug, even when it is not necessary
  • An inability to control or limit one’s use of the drug
  • Taking the drug more often or in larger quantities than intended
  • Cravings for the drug during periods of abstinence
  • Continued use of the drug despite negative consequences

What substances can lead to addiction?

While there are many different substances that can lead to addiction, some of the most commonly abused substances include the following:


Opioids work by binding to the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals and blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. Unfortunately, opioids also produce a feeling of euphoria, which can lead to abuse and addiction. Common types of opioids that are abused include Heroin, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Morphine, Hydrocodone and Codeine


Approximately 86% of adults in the United States have consumed alcohol at some point in their lives, making it one of the most commonly used substances. It’s no wonder that around 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from an alcohol use disorder.


Some medications have developed a negative reputation for being addictive. Stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are often abused by people who want to improve their focus or energy levels. Other medications such as Xanax and Ativan are commonly abused for their calming and relaxing effects. 


All opioids are narcotics, but not all narcotics are opioids. The term “narcotics” refers to any psychoactive substances that produce numbing or sedating effects. In addition to opioids, other commonly abused narcotics include Cocaine and methamphetamine.

What treatment options are available for addicts?

Though drug addictions can be difficult to overcome, there are a variety of treatment options available to help addicts recover. Here are a few of the most common treatment options:

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment requires the addict to stay at a facility for a set period of time, usually 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days. During this time, the addict will receive 24-hour care from medical professionals. Outpatient treatment allows the addict to live at home while attending regular counseling sessions and therapy sessions. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the addiction, the resources available, and the preference of the patient in question.

How are medications used in drug addiction treatment?


Suboxone is a medication that helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction. It is a partial agonist, which means that it binds to the same receptors in the brain as drugs like heroin and oxycodone, but produces a much weaker response.


Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication that is used to treat addiction and dependence on drugs like heroin and oxycodone. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as these drugs but produces a less powerful effect. This allows people to reduce their use of these drugs without experiencing the severe withdrawal symptoms that often accompany quitting them cold turkey.

Other Medications

Apart from those mentioned above, there are other medications used in treating addiction, like Antabuse and Naltrexone. Antabuse is a medication that helps to prevent people from drinking alcohol by causing them to feel sick when they do. Naltrexone, on the other hand, blocks the effects of drugs like opioids and alcohol, making it less likely for people to abuse them.


Detoxification, or detox, is the first step in most addiction treatment programs. During detox, the body is rid of all the drugs and toxins that have built up over time. This process can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, which is why it’s important to detox under medical supervision.

Sober Living / Half-way Houses

After completing detox and other treatment program requirements, some people may choose to live in a sober living or a Halfway house. These homes provide a safe and structured environment for people who are working to stay sober. Residents typically have to follow certain rules, like abstaining from drugs and alcohol and may be required to attend group meetings or therapy sessions. For many people, sober living homes provide an important transitional step between treatment and returning to everyday life.

What types of therapy are available to help addiction?


Drug-free therapy is a type of treatment that does not involve the use of medication. It can include counseling, support groups, and other types of care. Drug-free therapy can be effective for some people, but it is not right for everyone. Some people may need medication to help them overcome their addiction, and others may benefit from a combination of drug-free and medication-assisted therapies.


Behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our behaviors are learned and that we can learn new ones. Behavioral therapy usually involves working with a therapist to identify the thoughts and behaviors that are causing problems. The therapist will then help you find new, healthier ways to think and behave. This may involve changing the way you respond to situations, practicing new skills, or learning how to relax. Behavioral therapy can be done in individual or group sessions.

Mental Illness

People with addiction often suffer from mental illness as well. Mental illness can make it harder to overcome addiction, and treating the mental illness can make it easier to treat the addiction. Mental illness treatment usually involves counseling, medication, and support groups.


Non-traditional treatment options are also available for people with addiction. These treatments can include things like acupuncture, art therapy, and equine therapy. Non-traditional treatments are often used in addition to other types of treatment, and they can be helpful for some people.


Holistic treatment is an approach to treatment that focuses on the whole person, not just the addiction. Holistic treatment usually involves a combination of therapies, including counseling, nutrition therapy, and exercise.


Emotional support is an important part of addiction treatment. Emotional support can come from family and friends, counselors, therapists, and support groups. Emotional support can help patients deal with the stresses of addiction treatment and recovery. It can also help them stay motivated and focused on their goals.

Aftercare programs to help in continuing treatment

Addiction treatments don’t just end after detox and rehabilitation. Aftercare programs provide patients with the support they need to stay sober after leaving treatment. These programs can vary depending on the facility, but they typically include:

12-Step Programs

12-Step programs are a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovering addicts to follow. These principles were originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and have since been adapted for use by other addiction recovery groups. The 12 steps include admitting that there is a problem, finding a higher power, making amends, and more. This program can be helpful for those who want structure and support in their recovery process. 

Anonymous Programs

Anonymous Programs help individuals who have addiction problems to connect with others who are struggling with similar issues. There are a variety of anonymous programs that cater to different demographics and treatment goals. Let us take a look at some of the well-known ones:

Alcohol Anonymous

This is one of the oldest and most popular anonymous programs. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in 1935 and has since helped millions of people struggling with alcoholism. The program is based on the 12-step model discussed above.

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is similar to AA, but it focuses on helping those addicted to drugs other than alcohol. NA was founded in 1953 and also uses the 12-step model.


Al-Anon is a program for family and friends of alcoholics. The program is based on the belief that alcoholism is a family disease and that those affected by someone else’s drinking can benefit from support and education.

Counseling Options

There are many types of counseling and therapy options that have been proven effective in treating drug addiction. Some people may benefit from attending weekly individual therapy sessions, while others may do better in a group setting. Family counseling can also be an important part of the recovery process, as it can help to repair damaged relationships and provide support to loved ones.

Getting Help

Addiction is a complex disease that can be difficult to overcome, but it is not impossible. Seeking help is only the first step on the road to recovery, and with treatment, many people are able to achieve their goals and live a life free from addiction. Take charge of your treatment today and call us to learn more about our Halfway House / Sober Living Facilities. Our staff is here to support you every step of the way.

Recovery Community Organizations:

McShin Foundation
Journey House Foundation
WAR Foundation
TruRecovery RVA
Willingness Foundation
Starfish Recovery
The Healing Place by Caritas

Numerous IOP Options:

River City Integrative Counseling
River City Residential

In Patient Detox and Treatment:

3.1 Medicaid Housing

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