What is the Definition of Substance Abuse? Your Guide to Recovery and Treatment

Orlando Vargas

Did you know that millions of Americans suffer from a form of substance abuse every year? If you or a loved one is one in the millions or you suspect addiction, you’re not alone. A treatment plan suited to you is available.

It’s time to end the silence and break down the stigma.

In the following piece, we discuss substance abuse definition, some of the possible signs of substance abuse, and tips to find recovery and treatment options.

substance abuse

Substance Abuse Definition

The term substance abuse is in reference to the compulsive, chronic misuse of one or more substances, and continued use despite both short and long-term harmful consequences.

What does substance look like? It comes in many forms and manifests itself depending on the circumstances.


Alcohol use disorder and alcoholism is the consumption of alcohol at an unhealthy, dangerous level. This is desperate behavior that goes far beyond social drinking.

Someone suffering from alcohol misuse cannot control their drinking. It can go as far as having an infatuation with consuming alcohol and needing to drink it at all hours to avoid withdrawal.

In the most extreme cases, behaviors such as hiding alcohol on their person, for literal constant consumption, and drinking things like mouthwash can be observed.

Prescription Medications

The misuse of prescription medications is far more common than addiction to illegal substances. This can look like the misuse of personal medication or taking something prescribed to someone else.

Pain medications following injuries or surgical procedures are one of the most common causes of prescription abuse, resulting in the current opioid crisis. Patients become dependent on the feeling of being pain-free and it becomes life-altering.

Other abuse stems from random experimentation with pills taken from others for a variety of conditions. This is dangerous in and of itself for the sheer reason that it is not needed, let alone when taken in excess amounts.


You may not think of marijuana as being included in the substance abuse disorder definition, but it is. There is a fraction of the population who uses marijuana without addictive tendencies, but it’s not harmless for everyone.

Although it is possible for the abuse to end with marijuana, for some people it merely acts as a gateway drug for more serious substances like cocaine and heroin.

This only begins to scratch the surface of the many forms of misuse, abuse, and addiction.

When to Seek Help

Unfortunately, substance abuse isn’t always out where it is easily seen. Sometimes addiction is hidden deep down inside, seen only disguised as the quiet hints that something may be going on behind the scenes and a loved one needs help.

Always be in-tune with changing behavior like:

  • abnormal temperament
  • the unusual missing of important events
  • not doing things that were once enjoyed hobbies
  • creating general distance
  • secretive behavior
  • events that are out of character

If you suspect yourself or someone you know is suffering from addiction, it is advisable to seek professional help.

Treatment Options

When you are ready for substance abuse recovery, you should feel at ease, not overwhelmed. Know that you have options to not only begin your road to recovery but to provide you the support you need to achieve addiction recovery.

No one’s journey is identical to yours, so courses of treatment aren’t one-size-fits-all. There are four basic types of treatment available along with others:

Recreational Therapy

Sobriety and recovery are often thought of as terrifyingly boring in comparison to the often chaotic life of addiction.

For this reason, you will find that treatment plans at House of Freedom incorporate fun, recreational activities from sports to group holistic health-based activities. Not only is the body and mind made healthy, but this functions as trust-building as well.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is often the first type of treatment chosen. It ranges between 4 and 8 months depending on the chosen treatment plan and progress being made.

Services may include but are not limited to:

  • weekly therapies in a group or alone
  • family therapy sessions
  • self-help groups
  • urinalysis.

A more intensive outpatient treatment plan is also available. This is used as a step before partial hospitalization or residential treatment.

Residential Treatment

For those individuals wanting or needing 24-hour help, residential treatment is available in 30-day, 90-day, and 15-month treatment plans at our 52,000 square feet state-of-the-art treatment facility.

Services included in this treatment type include, but are not limited to:

  • counseling
  • family therapy
  • recreational therapy
  • psychiatric evaluations
  • psychological assessments
  • medication management
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • meditation
  • sauna baths
  • physical conditioning
  • career and education assistance

Medication-Assisted Treatment

One of the most cutting-edge substance abuse treatment plans uses the latest FDA-approved medications to treat both alcohol and opioid use disorders.

This treatment course of action combines carefully curated medications with behavioral interventions and counseling. Patients have shown tremendous success with this method.

For more information, call for a free consultation.

On the Road to Remission From Addiction and Abuse

The substance abuse definition is complex like the individuals trying to defeat the addiction.

When you choose House of Freedom you receive a personalized treatment plan of action and have a compassionate support system behind you like no other.

Every one of the professionals at the treatment center has an understanding of what you are going through, having been touched by addiction in one way or another themselves.

When you or your loved one is ready to take a leap of faith and get help, the professionals at House of Freedom are just a call away. Contact us today with any questions you may have or to get started.

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