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We will help you find the best solution for drug rehabilitation. Call us to get help from a treatment specialist.

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We provide guidance and treatment for individuals and family members who struggle with addiction.

We are committed to providing the best continuum of care for individuals struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Our programs are designed to ensure that each client receives a personalized treatment plan to help guide them toward recovery. We help our clients understand what triggers their addiction and provide a network of support to stay actively involved even after they have finished their treatment with us.

Understanding Addiction

Gain the tools to understanding how addiction works as well as how to identify the triggers that lead to substance abuse. From having addiction in your genetic makeup, or using substances as a coping mechanism from a traumatic event.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is consumed by millions each month, from teenagers to adults. Due to it’s easy accessibility, it has become one the most dangerous and deadly substances. Learn more about treating alcohol addiction.

Drug Addiction

Whether you struggle with using Cocaine, Heroin or other illicit drugs, our team of treatment specialists have helped guide thousands toward a life of recovery. Learn more about the tools needed to treat drug addiction and break the cycle.

Addiction Treatment

Drug addiction, alcoholism or dual diagnosis; our licensed professional staff can help create a customized treatment plan for you. Learn more about 12 Step and a variety of modern, forward-thinking treatments offered in our program.


Verifying your policy for benefits is easier than you think! You can fill out our private insurance form and our admissions team will begin the verification process. We will work directly with your insurance provider and get back to you with confirmation.


Treatment Facilities

Our family of esteemed addiction treatment centers operates across the country, offering help where you need it. 


Treatment Facilities

Overcoming drug and alcohol addiction is one of the most difficult challenges you will ever face, but you don’t have to face it alone. There are rehab centers out there waiting to provide you with the tools and resources you need.

Find Freedom From Addiction

Seeking help for an addiction is a huge step toward sobriety. That’s why deciding where to seek treatment shouldn’t be taken lightly—let our treatment specialists help you find the right Addiction Campuses facility for your needs.

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Photographs and Videos on this website (hereafter known as “Content”) are using models and/or actors. The Content is being used for illustrative purposes only.


This privacy policy has been compiled to better serve those who are concerned with how their ‘Personally Identifiable Information’ (PII) is being used online. PII, as described in US privacy law and information security, is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context. Please read our privacy policy carefully to get a clear understanding of how we collect, use, protect or otherwise handle your Personally Identifiable Information in accordance with our website.

What personal information do we collect from the people that visit our blog, website or app?

When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your name, email address or other details to help you with your experience.

When do we collect information?

We collect information from you when you subscribe to a newsletter, fill out a form or enter information on our site.

How do we use your information?

We may use the information we collect from you when you register, make a purchase, sign up for our newsletter, respond to a survey or marketing communication, surf the website, or use certain other site features in the following ways:

• To personalize your experience and to allow us to deliver the type of content and product offerings in which you are most interested.

• To improve our website in order to better serve you.

• To follow up with them after correspondence (live chat, email or phone inquiries)

How do we protect your information?

We do not use vulnerability scanning and/or scanning to PCI standards.

We only provide articles and information. We never ask for credit card numbers.

We use regular Malware Scanning.

Your personal information is contained behind secured networks and is only accessible by a limited number of persons who have special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. In addition, all sensitive/credit information you supply is encrypted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology.

We implement a variety of security measures when a user enters, submits, or accesses their information to maintain the safety of your personal information.

All transactions are processed through a gateway provider and are not stored or processed on our servers.

Do we use ‘cookies’?

We do not use cookies for tracking purposes

You can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies. You do this through your browser settings. Since browser is a little different, look at your browser’s Help Menu to learn the correct way to modify your cookies.

If you turn cookies off, some features will be disabled. that make your site experience more efficient and may not function properly.

However, you will still be able to place orders .

Third-party disclosure

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your Personally Identifiable Information unless we provide users with advance notice. This does not include website hosting partners and other parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or serving our users, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release information when it’s release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others’ rights, property or safety.

However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third-party products or services on our website. These third-party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.


Google’s advertising requirements can be summed up by Google’s Advertising Principles. They are put in place to provide a positive experience for users.

We use Google AdSense Advertising on our website.

Google, as a third-party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on our site. Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to our users based on previous visits to our site and other sites on the Internet. Users may opt-out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google Ad and Content Network privacy policy.

We have implemented the following:

• Remarketing with Google AdSense

• Google Display Network Impression Reporting

We, along with third-party vendors such as Google use first-party cookies (such as the Google Analytics cookies) and third-party cookies (such as the DoubleClick cookie) or other third-party identifiers together to compile data regarding user interactions with ad impressions and other ad service functions as they relate to our website.

Opting out:

Users can set preferences for how Google advertises to you using the Google Ad Settings page. Alternatively, you can opt out by visiting the Network Advertising Initiative Opt Out page or by using the Google Analytics Opt Out Browser add on.

California Online Privacy Protection Act

CalOPPA is the first state law in the nation to require commercial websites and online services to post a privacy policy. The law’s reach stretches well beyond California to require any person or company in the United States (and conceivably the world) that operates websites collecting Personally Identifiable Information from California consumers to post a conspicuous privacy policy on its website stating exactly the information being collected and those individuals or companies with whom it is being shared. – See more at:

According to CalOPPA, we agree to the following:

Users can visit our site anonymously.

Once this privacy policy is created, we will add a link to it on our home page or as a minimum, on the first significant page after entering our website.

Our Privacy Policy link includes the word ‘Privacy’ and can easily be found on the page specified above.

You will be notified of any Privacy Policy changes:

• On our Privacy Policy Page

Can change your personal information:

• By emailing us

How does our site handle Do Not Track signals?

We honor Do Not Track signals and Do Not Track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place.

COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act)

When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under the age of 13 years old, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, United States’ consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children’s privacy and safety online.

We do not specifically market to children under the age of 13 years old.

Fair Information Practices

The Fair Information Practices Principles form the backbone of privacy law in the United States and the concepts they include have played a significant role in the development of data protection laws around the globe. Understanding the Fair Information Practice Principles and how they should be implemented is critical to comply with the various privacy laws that protect personal information.

In order to be in line with Fair Information Practices we will take the following responsive action, should a data breach occur:

We will notify you via email

• Within 1 business day

We will notify you via phone call

• Within 1 business day

We will notify the users via in-site notification

• Within 1 business day

We also agree to the Individual Redress Principle which requires that individuals have the right to legally pursue enforceable rights against data collectors and processors who fail to adhere to the law. This principle requires not only that individuals have enforceable rights against data users, but also that individuals have recourse to courts or government agencies to investigate and/or prosecute non-compliance by data processors.


The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.

We collect your email address in order to:

• Send information, respond to inquiries, and/or other requests or questions

• Market to our mailing list or continue to send emails to our clients after the original transaction has occurred.

To be in accordance with CANSPAM, we agree to the following:

• Not use false or misleading subjects or email addresses.

• Identify the message as an advertisement in some reasonable way.

• Include the physical address of our business or site headquarters.

• Monitor third-party email marketing services for compliance, if one is used.

• Honor opt-out/unsubscribe requests quickly.

• Allow users to unsubscribe by using the link at the bottom of each email.

If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, you can email us at

• Follow the instructions at the bottom of each email.

and we will promptly remove you from ALL correspondence.


The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose protected health information about you. Treatment: We may use or disclose your protected health information for your treatment, such as to a doctor or other healthcare provider providing treatment to you.

Your Authorization: You may give us written authorization or release to use your protected health information for any purpose that you deem necessary. You may revoke an authorization or release at any time; the revocation must be in writing. Your revocation will not affect any use or disclosures permitted by your release while it was in effect.

Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Care: We may disclose your protected health information with your signed authorization to a family member, friend or other person to help with your healthcare.

Disaster Relief: We may disclose your protected health information to disaster relief organizations that seek your protected health information to coordinate your care, or notify or help locate a family member or friend in a disaster. We will provide you with an opportunity to agree or object to such a disclosure whenever practical to do so.

Payment: We may use and disclose your protected health information so that we may be paid for the services and supplies we provide to you. For example, your health insurance company may request to see parts of your medical record before they will pay us for your treatment.

Marketing: We will not use your protected health-related information for marketing purposes. We will not sell your protected health information. Research: We do not disclose protected health information for research purposes without your written consent. Information without patient-identifiable data may be used for generic research.

Workers’ Compensation and Disability: With your signed release, protected health information about you may be disclosed for workers’ compensation, disability or similar programs.

The following categories describe different ways that we may use and disclose protected health information about you without a signed release. Required by Law: Federal, state, or local law may require us to disclose your protected health information.

Law Enforcement: We may release protected health information if asked by a law enforcement official if the information is (1) in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; (2) limited information to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; (3) about the victim of a crime even if, under certain very limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement; (4) about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; (5) about criminal conduct on our premises; and (6) in an emergency to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.

Public Health: We may disclose protected health information about you for public health activities such as to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; to report reactions to medications, food, or problems with products; to authority authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect.

Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose your protected health information in connection with our health care operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run Northeast Addictions Treatment Center and to make sure all of our patients receive quality care. Health care operations may also include, but are not limited to, accreditation and licensing, and conducting training programs in which students, trainees, or practitioners in areas of health care learn under supervision to practice or improve their skills as health care providers. We may use your information to provide information on services that may be of interest to you.

Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors: We may disclose protected health information to a coroner or medical examiner for the purpose of identifying a deceased person, determining a cause of death, or other duties as authorized by law. We may disclose protected health information to funeral directors, consistent with applicable law, as necessary to carry out their duties. RMdoc118_Notice of Privacy Practices, 10/17/16

Organ, Eye, Tissue Donation: We may disclose protected health information to organizations that procure, bank or transplant organs or tissues. Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose protected health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Military and Veterans: If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release your protected health information as required by military command authorities. We also may release Protected Health Information to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military.

National Security and Intelligence Activities: We may release protected health information to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counter-intelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.

To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety: We may use and disclose protected health information when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Disclosures, however, will be made only to someone who may be able to help prevent the threat.

Judicial and Administrative Proceedings: We may disclose protected health information in response to a court order or administrative tribunal order, a subpoena, a discovery request, or other lawful process but only when we have followed procedures required by law.

Victim of Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence: We may use or disclose your protected health information to an authorized government authority, including a social service or protected services agency if we reasonably believe you to be a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. Data Breach Notification Purposes: We may use or disclose your protected health information to provide legally required notices of unauthorized access to or disclosure of your health information.

Business Associates: We may disclose protected health information to our “business associates” who perform certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of, or provides services to us. All of our business associates are obligated to protect the privacy of protected health information and may use the information only for the purposes for which the business associate was engaged.

Secretary of Health and Human Services. We are required to disclose your information to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services when the Secretary is investigating or determining our compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rules.

Other Uses and Disclosures: Other uses and disclosures of protected health information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization.


Right to Access: You have the right to request to inspect and/or get copies of your own protected health information for as long as we maintain it, as required by law. You must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Official. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing, staff time or other supplies associated with your request. We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain circumstances. If you are denied access to protected health information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed health care professional chosen by Northeast Addictions Treatment Center will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.

Right to an Electronic Copy of Electronic Medical Records: If your protected health information is maintained in an electronic format (known as an electronic medical record or an electronic health record), you have the right to request that an electronic copy of your record be given to you or transmitted to another individual or entity.

Notification of a Breach: You have the right to be notified in the event that we (or one of our Business Associates) discover a breach of any of your unsecured protected health information.

Right to Amend: You have the right to request that we amend your protected health information if you feel the information is wrong or incomplete. To request an amendment, your request must be made writing explaining why the information should be amended and submitted to our Privacy Official. We may deny your request under certain circumstances.

Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request that we place additional restrictions on our use or disclosure of your protected health information. We are not required to agree to any restriction that you may request. If we do agree to the restriction, we will comply with that restriction unless the information is needed to provide emergency treatment to you or unless the use or disclosure is otherwise permitted by law.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request a list of instances in which we disclosure your protected health information during the last 6 years. If you request this accounting more than once in a 12 month period we may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for responding to these additional requests.

Out-of-Pocket Payments: If you paid out-of-pocket (or in other words, you have requested that we not bill your health plan) in full for a specific item or service, you have the right to request in writing that your protected health information with respect to that item or service not be disclosed to a health plan for purposes of payment or healthcare operations, and we will honor that request.

RMdoc118_Notice of Privacy Practices, 10/17/16

Right to Request Confidential Communications: You have the right to request that we communicate with you about your protected health information by alternative means or alternative locations. Your request must be made in writing and must specify the alternative means or location, and provide a satisfactory explanation of how payments will be handled under the alternative means or location you requested.

Right to a Paper Copy: If you have received this Notice electronically, you have the right to a paper copy at any time. You may download a paper copy of this Notice from our website, at, or from our Privacy Official.

Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy, you may contact us using the information below.

Start your recovery today


Our phone number is available 24/7 to help you or your loved one find a treatment center that meets your needs. It only takes one call to start your new life in recovery.

Speak with a Treatment Specialist Now:

Welcome to provides an extensive directory of hospitals and healthcare facilities that offering rehabilitation services, eliminating the anxiety of choosing by making comparison easy!

Understand the different levels of care you can expect from each facility.

  • Detox facilities provide a safe, medicinally aided and monitored program for addressing the physical aspects of addiction.
  • Residential rehabilitation programs provide care in a controlled environment with extra support to help mitigate the risk of relapse during recovery.
  • Partial hospitalization treatment options are most beneficial for those who with a dual diagnosis of a mental health disorder and substance abuse disorder.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs of care allow one to get the treatment they need while still maintaining outside responsibilities such as working and attending school.
  • Sober living communities help continue the process of addiction recovery and sobriety by providing safe, drug and alcohol-free housing beyond rehab.

Internal Family Systems (IFS)

What is IFS therapy?

The Internal Family Systems Model (IFS) is an integrative approach to individual psychotherapy. It combines systems thinking with the view that mind is made up of relatively discrete sub-personalities each with its own viewpoint and qualities.

We are pleased to share with the community of IFS therapists and practitioners the exciting news that the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy is now posted on NREPP as an evidencebased practice.

IFS therapy is used throughout the continuum of treatment in individual therapy to help support individuals understand the dynamic part of themselves and how they affect the different aspects of a person’s recovery.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)

What is EMDR and how does it work?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDRtherapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. During EMDR therapy sessions, you relive traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist uses bilateral stimulation (BLS) (eye movements, handheld buzzers, headphone beeps, or tapping) to facilitate memory processing. During stressful or traumatic experiences, memories get stuck in places in our mind where they are easily triggered and continue to stay in our present and create stress about he future. During EMDR therapy, memories that get stuck in our minds and bodies during stressful experiences are released and adapted into our understanding of the world allowing the past to stay in the past.

How many sessions does it take?

EMDR normally lasts between 6-12 sessions but can be vary in either direction.

EMDR in Recovery

As with any trauma resolution therapy, treating the underlying traumatic experiences that may have led to an addiction, does not cure the addiction. Just because a person no longer experiences the previous symptoms, they still need to remain focused on recovery from their addiction and should continue for a goal of abstinence from all mind altering substances.

It is important to note, that using EMDR therapy is not typically recommended within the first month of a person in recovery due to the impact of the healing process of withdrawal on the brain’s ability to process information. Agonist and Partial agonist medications assisted treatment options may affect the impact the efficacy of EMDR processing, benzodiazepine medications will highly complicate the efficacy of EMDR processing.

Is EMDR Evidenced Based?

EMDR Therapy is listed by the American Psychological Association as an evidencebased practice.

EMDR therapy is used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan in individual therapy to focus on trauma resolution and addressing the symptoms of traumatic stress.

Transcranial Neurostimulation (TCNS)

What is TCNS?

Designed collaboratively by world-class engineers and doctors, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator® uses proprietary waveforms to gently stimulate the brain to produce serotonin and other neurochemicals responsible for healthy mood and sleep. Proven safe and effective in multiple published studies, the device is cleared by the FDA to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia. The device has been shown to use the brains neural systems to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone, produced by the body.

Is Fisher Wallace effective?

The Fisher Wallace Stimulator been shown effective in many studies including one in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Twelve studies have been conducted using the Fisher Wallace Stimulator®, including a successful clinical trial for the treatment of depression at Mount Sinai Hospital (published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in 2015). The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® is also used by top substance use recovery clinics, to improve mood and sleep. A 392-subject study conducted in 2009 found the device increased 90-day rehab retention by 50% versus standard of care.

TCNS is utilized for individuals during their course of treatment and is integrated into part of the individual therapy component as an ancillary treatment to enhance the current treatment plan. Treatment with TCNS for duration and frequency is evaluated and determined by a trained clinician and is individualized to meet the needs of each individual patient.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

What is MBCT?

MBCT is an evidenced based therapeutic intervention designed to help people accept life on life’s terms and is specifically designed to deal with stress and traumatic experiences. MBCT is based on the practice of mindfulness; the practice of paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, without judgment. MBCT helps people handle difficult life stress and experiences through practice of being mindful and engaging people in the present so that people are not caught in self-defeating thoughts from the depressions of the past or anxieties of the future. MBCT uses, mindfulness practices like meditation, as well as, explorative discussion for dealing with powerful emotions.

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is used in both group sessions and individual counseling sessions. Patients will learn and practice MBCT skills in group and individual sessions.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

What is DBT?

DBT is an evidenced based therapeutic intervention designed to help people address negative and distorted thinking patterns and self-defeating thoughts and was specifically for people with extremely self-destructive behavior and personalities. DBT is based on the theory of dialectics, two opposing ideas existing in harmony and acceptance (i.e. I really want to get high, but I do not have to). DBT helps people become their own therapist by having the therapist guide the patient and engaging them to learn to objectively look at their own behavior and use their own cognition and behaviors to change destructive behaviors. This is done through psycho-education, written exercises, explorative discussion, and skill development for dealing with powerful emotions.

Dialectical behavioral therapy is used in both group sessions and individual counseling sessions. Patients will learn and practice DBT skills in group and individual sessions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

What is CBT?

CBT is an evidenced based therapeutic intervention designed to help people address negative and distorted thinking patterns and self-defeating thoughts. CBT helps people become their own therapist by having the therapist guide the patient and engaging them to learn to objectively look at their own behavior and use their own cognition and behaviors to change destructive behaviors. This is done through psycho-education, written exercises and explorative discussion.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used in both group sessions and individual counseling sessions. Patients will learn and practice CBT skills in group and individual sessions.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

What is MI?

MI is an evidenced based therapeutic intervention designed to engage and assist in motivating a person throughout the various stages of change in the recovery process. MI is a style of intervention doe with a person and helps to overcome barriers by offering a collaborative, non-confrontational, and affirms a person’s autonomy in making healthy choices.

Motivational interviewing is used in both group sessions and individual counseling sessions. Patients will learn and practice MI skills in group and individual sessions.

12 Step Program

What is 12 Step?

12-Step Program is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the first twelve-step fellowship, was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith.

The following are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What is Drug Addiction?

A drug addiction is a disorder of the brain which affects behavior. It is considered a disease of the brain because it has the ability to alter the way a brain functions. When a person first takes drugs, factors such as peer pressure, environment or curiosity can all contribute. It is imperative to get treatment for a drug addiction because the changes happening to the brain when using can be long-lasting without treatment. Addiction is progressive, and if it isn’t treated timely can prove fatal.

Addictions cause drug users to lose self-control. Regardless of health, income, or emotional status, an addicted person will feel urges to use even if they want to quit. Also, an onset of withdrawal symptoms either physical, psychological, or both is telling of a drug addiction.

What is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse is often seen as less afflictive than drug addiction, but that couldn’t be more further from the truth. Drug abuse can be just as damaging to a person’s life and health.

Drug abuse starts when a person uses legal or illegal substances in a manner in which they shouldn’t. For example, if a doctor recommends taking 1 painkiller per day after knee surgery, abuse would be a patient taking more than the recommended dose and increasing the dose continuously. People who abuse drugs normally take them to relax, find some sort of temporary escape from their problems, or even because of peer pressure. However, unlike someone with a drug addiction, those who abuse drugs can probably stop using before developing an addiction. But this is a slippery slope, as abusing substances often leads to an addiction.

Can Anyone Become Addicted to Drugs?

Addiction is a disease of the brain, which means that it can affect anyone. It is impartial to race, gender, socioeconomic status, salary, etc., it does not discriminate and affects all equally. That being said, research has shown that certain factors exhibit a strong correlation between drug use and likelihood of addiction.

An important factor that could lead to addiction is the environment a person is exposed to. If a young person is exposed to drugs and alcohol via parental figures or family friends, their likelihood to use and become addicted is far higher than someone who grows up in a substance free household.

Mental health issues have also been linked to drug addiction and abuse. Those who suffer from depression and anxiety can use drugs as a way to numb their emotions, which eventually lead to an addiction.

How Do You Know if Someone is Addicted to Drugs?

Trying to gauge whether or not someone is addicted to drugs, and trying to have a discussion with someone about their drug use can be quite challenging and uncomfortable. Often, people can’t find the words to appropriately broach the subject, or just don’t know how to go about it. Yet, before having a discussion, one must discern whether someone is battling an addiction or substance abuse, and there are ways to tell.

The sudden neglect and lack of interest in responsibilities is a major sign of drug use. The neglect of responsibilities can range from forgetting to do household chores to a loss of interest in school or work. The neglect becomes incredibly problematic when the potential addict has young children. Because young children require constant care and attention, an addict’s lack of alertness can lead to a harmful outcome.

Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends is another major sign of drug addiction. As a person falls deeper into their addiction, they would rather spend time looking for ways to satisfy their cravings than attending social gatherings. If the addict in question is normally a social butterfly and suddenly becomes reluctant to engage in social outings or settings, this sudden shift in behavior could be a cause for concern. When the addict is someone that is known to be introverted, it may take a little more digging to figure out if their withdrawal is normal or drug induced behavior.

Changes in sleep patterns are also considered a sign of potential drug addiction and abuse. When a person abuses drugs, neuroreceptors of the central nervous system fire inconsistently. Instead of the body naturally following its sleep cycle, an addict’s sleep cycle follows an irregular pattern.

The criteria above only scratches the surface when it comes to figuring out if someone in your life is addicted to drugs. Using resources such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse can help concerned family members and friends begin to understand drug abuse and addiction. Additionally, reaching out to health care professionals who specialize in addiction can answer questions specific to the addict in your life.

Health Effects of Drug Addiction

When a person begins abusing drugs, they rarely think about its consequences and long-term effects. However, when something as harmful as drugs enter the body, all major organs are susceptible to devastating outcomes. While immediate effects of drug abuse such as lack of coordination, lethargy and incoherent thought patterns are well known, some effects can cause damage that lasts for years.

The liver is an organ which bares a significant burden when the user is addicted to heroin or prescription opioids. If the addict takes drugs with alcohol, the results can be catastrophic. Because the liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol, if a person engages in excess drinking, a backlog is formed. The combination of drugs and alcohol causes the liver to become fatty in consistency, resulting in a loss of efficiency.

The respiratory system also takes a major hit when drug use transitions into an addiction. The lungs can become affected by any drug that is smoked. Smoking drugs like tobacco can cause inflations in the alveoli (air sacs in the lung), which could lead to the development of emphysema.

Included in a group of diseases known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, emphysema changes the anatomy of lungs due to the destruction of small airways called bronchioles. When lung tissue is damaged, the lungs have to work harder to inhale and exhale. In more severe cases, lung cancer can also develop.

For those who engage in long-term use of stimulants like cocaine, the heart will suffer. Stimulants affect the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the “fight” or “flight” response throughout the body. During this response, heart rate increases and blood vessels become narrower. Narrowing of blood vessels is known as hypertension and commonly leads to chest pains. Use of stimulants can also lead to diseases of the heart muscle and formations of ruptures on the surface of the aorta. These ruptures can lead to irregular heart beats and sudden heart attack.

A commonly ignored area of the body which is also damaged by long-term abuse is the gastrointestinal tract. Comprised of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines, the gastrointestinal tract is often the first point of contact with drugs. With each ingestion, drugs work to decay and damage the stomach and intestines. As time goes on, the development of diseases like acid reflux can emerge. Acid reflux forms as a result of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) losing efficiency.

Normally, the LES closes immediately after food passes through it. However when a person suffers from acid reflux, the LES doesn’t completely close or it opens often. Acid produced by the stomach moves through these openings and into the esophagus. As acid moves up the digestive tract, a burning sensation in the chest known as “heartburn” is common.

Drug Addiction Treatment

One of the hardest aspects of the drug addiction journey is getting help. As an addict falls deeper into their addiction, family members and close friends may feel obligated to step in. Thoughtfully expressing concerns about choices in an addict’s life can be the catalyst which propels them to seek assistance. Ultimately, the choice to get help has to be made by the addict.

Staged interventions may help to convey the concerns and hurts the addicts addiction is playing on friends and family. If an addict is reluctant to check into a treatment facility and get help, gathering family and loved ones to talk to the addict together along with a therapist could help the addict see the gravity of his/her condition and be persuaded to get help.

Inpatient and Outpatient Facilities

It is imperative to have the addict check into a rehabilitation clinic and begin detox in order to rid their body of the substance they are abusing. If the drug addiction is severe, an inpatient or residential facility is the best option for the addict to recover as inpatient treatment centers provide medical detoxes with around-the-clock support and care. Patients are required to stay at the facility day and night for a duration of time to fully recover from their addiction in a safe and drug-free environment.

Outpatient facilities should be used after completing an inpatient treatment program, or if the addiction is mild, meaning the addict doesn’t require a medical detox. Outpatient facilities still provide excellent care, but are less intensive than inpatient facilities, and the patients are permitted to live at home while undergoing treatment.


Once the physical aspects of drug addiction are addressed, treatment centers also place a major emphasis on mental and emotional health. Though all treatment centers run differently, most programs provide a mixture of individual and group therapy sessions. Individual sessions are used as an informative time where patients learn about their addiction as well as learn ways of coping and living a drug-free life.

Group sessions are proctored by a professional that encourages the participation of every patient. In a group session, where every person is at a different point in their sobriety journey, those who are struggling can find strength in the stories of others. Group sessions help patients build a support network which is vital during and after their treatment program.

Sobriety is something that cannot be achieved through a magic pill. It is a process which takes a full commitment. Even after finishing a program, there may be times when a former patient feels a strong urge use again. Making sure to seek help as soon as that happens can help avoid a relapse.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the excessive consumption of alcohol which leads to alcohol use disorder. There is both a mental and physical aspect to alcohol addiction. You may have an alcohol problem if you have:

  • Intense cravings for alcohol
  • Drink alone
  • Become defensive when others confront you about your drinking habits
  • Are unable to control how much alcohol you consume
  • Become angry or irritable when you consume alcohol
  • Miss important family events or work due to your alcohol consumption
  • Feel guilty about your drinking
  • Need to drink more and more to feel the effects of alcohol

If you can relate to any of these characteristics, it may be time to talk to your doctor about your drinking habits. Your doctor may have you fill out a questionnaire that may ask you whether any of the above symptoms apply to you. Based on your answers, if they feel that you may have alcohol use disorder they will order a blood test to see if your drinking has affected your liver function.

How Does Someone Become Addicted?

Someone becomes addicted to alcohol when they continue to drink alcohol frequently for an extended period of time. Some people are genetically predisposed to developing alcoholism. This doesn’t mean that if someone has no family members or relations who have an alcohol problem that they will not develop a problem with alcohol, and conversely, if someone has family members who struggle with alcoholism, that they will not automatically develop an issue. It simply means that a family history of alcohol addiction makes some people more likely to have an issue.

After drinking consistently a person will develop a tolerance to alcohol. A tolerance to alcohol means your body has become accustomed to the alcohol, and it no longer has the same effect unless more alcohol is consumed. After tolerance develops and a person continues to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, physiological dependence can take place. This is when your body now relies on the alcohol being consumed, and if you stop drinking, your body will start to go through withdrawals. At this point, it will feel like you must have another drink in order to function properly, and that you cannot control your drinking.

Who Struggles With Alcohol Addiction?

Anyone can develop an alcohol addiction. Some may be more genetically prone to alcohol abuse than others, but ultimately the disease does not discriminate. According to the Substance Abuse and Health Services Association, in 2017, 14.5 million Americans over the age of 12 had alcohol use disorder. 10.6 million of them being 26 years of age or older. This translates to 1 in 19 Americans. These are massive statistics, and clearly indicate that it is more than genetics that can contribute to alcohol abuse. Some factors that can contribute to alcohol abuse are:

  • Mental illness such as depression or anxiety
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Binge drinking (5 or more drinks at a time)
  • Drinking too much per week (7 for women, 14 for men)
  • Stress
  • Peer pressure

Many people turn to alcohol to cope with difficulties in life, and the pleasurable effects may help numb their problems temporarily, but if misused, alcohol can become a much larger problem.

How Does Alcohol Abuse Affect an Individual?

Alcohol has a staggering effect on the human body, mind, and social relationships. The effect that alcohol has on an individual all boils down to how much a person drinks. In small quantities, alcohol is not harmful, but what amount of alcohol constitutes abuse? Research has shown recently that there is no amount of alcohol that is healthy for you, but one drink a day would only slightly put you at risk for health related problems.

According to the NIAAA, men should not have more than 4 drinks a day, and no more than 14 a week. Women should not have more than 3 drinks a day, and no more than 7 within a week—These would be standard drinks, 12 oz beer (4% alcohol), 5 oz wine (12% alcohol), 8 oz malt liquor(5-8% alcohol), 1.5 oz liquor (80 proof). Women and men have different levels of non-risky amounts of alcohol consumption because of their body size difference, hormones, and bioavailability, as well as the fact that men have more of the dehydrogenase  enzyme—an enzyme that breaks down alcohol—than women do. Therefore, women may be affected more severely with lower amounts of alcohol.


Many people know that alcohol abuse can cause health problems such as cirrhosis–a degenerative disease that occurs when healthy cells in the liver are damaged and replaced by scar tissue–which can lead to liver failure and even death. Yet, many do not understand the full health implications that alcohol can have on the body both in the long-term and the short-term. Short-term effects include:

  • Changes in cognition
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Rambling
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Glassy eyes
  • Very emotional
  • Nausea & vomiting

Excessive intake of alcohol in one sitting can cause alcohol poisoning which is concerning as it can be fatal. Symptoms include:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting, slurred
  • Speech
  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular pulse and breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

If someone’s breathing or pulse has slowed down or become irregular, or their lips have turned blue, you should call 911 immediately. Alcohol is a depressant, and alcohol poisoning can be deadly. A person in this state could choke on their own vomit, or their system can become so depressed by the alcohol that it can no longer function.

Long-term alcohol abuse can cause chronic illness and eventually lead to death. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, long-term use can cause damage to your brain, heart, pancreas, liver, and has also been linked to multiple cancers.

Alcohol works on the brain by effecting its pathways of communication. It can also change the way the brain works which causes changes to a person’s behaviors, effectively changing their personality characteristics.

A person’s heart can be damaged through alcohol by causing cardiomyopathy (the stretching and drooping of the heart muscle), arrhythmias (an irregular heart beat), stroke, and high blood pressure. Women’s hearts tend to be affected more easily from alcohol than men’s, but a man can still certainly suffer from the same heart complications.

Alcohol misuse can also affect a person’s pancreas. Alcohol can cause pancreatitis. This causes a swelling of the pancreas that is dangerous and can cause problems in the digestive tract.

The most well-known long term symptom of alcoholism is the effect that it has on the liver. Damages to the liver include steatosis, or fatty liver, which is generally benign. However, if left untreated can progress to cirrhosis. A more serious complication of alcohols use on the liver is alcoholic hepatitis which is a more serious inflammation of the liver and may include jaundice or fluid retention in the belly. Excessive drinking may also lead to fibrosis which is the scarring of the liver. Fibrosis is extremely serious and indicates that there is permanent damage done to the liver. Symptoms include jaundice, fluid retention, nausea, weight loss, and difficulty thinking.
Cirrhosis of the liver is the final step in liver scarring. For end stage cirrhosis, the only remedy is a liver transplant.

Research has shown that another serious side effect that can come about due to heavy drinking is cancer. Research has indicated that 3.5% of all cancer deaths are related to alcohol and range anywhere from esophageal to colorectal cancer.


While the side effects of alcohol on the body can be life-changing and life-threatening, the side effects on a person’s personal life can be equally debilitating. Often times when someone has a drinking problem their relationships, job and/or academics begin to suffer.

Alcoholics may assume that they are only hurting their bodies with their drinking, but the reality is that they are hurting all of their loved ones as well. Loved ones of people with addictions are negatively affected, and each member of the family may be affected differently. As the addiction progresses, addicts may begin to pull away from society and may lash out at family members or loved ones who try to help them come to terms with their addiction. The alcoholic may face financial troubles due to the cost of supporting an alcohol addiction as well as due to loss of productivity at work or at school due to hangovers, illness, or adverse effects. This can cause a greater strain on the addicts relationships especially if his/her family are financially dependent on them.

Alcoholics may assume that they are only hurting their bodies with their drinking, but the reality is that they are hurting all of their loved ones as well. Loved ones of alcoholics are negatively affected, and each member of the family may be affected differently. As the addiction progresses, addicts may begin to pull away from society and may lash out at family members or loved ones who try to help them come to terms with their addiction. The alcoholic may face financial troubles due to the cost of supporting an alcohol addiction as well as due to loss of productivity at work or at school due to hangovers, illness, or adverse effects. This can cause a greater strain on the person with addiction’s relationships especially if his/her family are financially dependent on them.

Why Would Someone Turn To Alcohol?

With all the harmful issues and side effects that can arise from drinking heavily, it makes one question why someone would want to continue drinking on a regular basis. The answer is fairly simple, drinking alcohol can be a very pleasurable experience for many. Understanding alcohol is extremely important if one wants to know why it is addictive.

The effect of a drug on a person’s body is a result of how that drug interacts with neurotransmitters-chemical messengers that facilitate communication in the brain. Every neurotransmitter is responsible for a different process in the brain. The neurotransmitter that alcohol interacts with is called GABA. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means it prevents the brain’s neurons from becoming too excited. This creates a calming and tranquilizing effect on the brain. Alcohol is a GABA receptor agonist, this means they bind to certain GABA receptors and increase the calming effect that GABA has on the brain. This calming effect helps people feel relaxed and loose. Alcohol also stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, making people feel happy. Beyond this, the psychotropic properties of alcohol that render feelings of being drunk may offer relief to some who suffer from problems in everyday life and are looking for an escape.

Depression/Mental Illness

One such disorder that may increase a person’s desire to start drinking is depression. Major depressive disorder is a serious mental health condition characterized by persistent mood changes, sadness, and loss of interest in activities which a person once enjoyed. Those who have depression have a tendency to isolate themselves, and feel a lot of emotional pain regularly. It can be enticing for someone with this disorder to use alcohol to try and escape how they feeling, and numb their pain.  One study found that depressed female drinkers were twice as likely to become heavy drinkers, and depressed male drinkers were three times as likely to become heavy drinkers. Unfortunately, beyond the fact that those with depression are more likely to have an alcohol problem, it has been shown that excessive drinking can make depression worse. This is a result of both the pharmacology of alcohol as well as the effects of alcohol.

While alcohol may make you feel happier in the short term, it can actually cause low serotonin levels. Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters that lead to feelings of happiness and well being. Often, it is difficult for the person who is depressed to see that alcohol is what is contributing to their depression because in the moment it can make them feel better. Also, someone may stop taking his or her depression medication due to potential interactions with alcohol. This can compound the negative effects of the depression.

Alcohol use disorder is often a dual diagnosis, meaning that there is usually another mental illness that the person suffers from. This is called comorbidity, when one diagnosis is typically followed by another diagnosis. Often times those who are suffering from a mental illness may not realize that they even have a problem, and they will turn to substances to dampen their symptoms.

Alcohol is a common substance that is used by people who are self-medicating for a mental illness. Unfortunately many of the side effects of the mental illnesses are similar to that of the side effects of alcohol, such as disorientation, confusion, anxiety, and hallucinations. Since these both have similar symptoms, the alcohol can make the symptoms of the mental illness much worse. It can also make it difficult for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis since they may at first attribute the symptoms to the person’s alcohol usage. Some of the common comorbid disorders were mood disorders, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar, PTSD, and schizophrenia.

Family Abuse/PTSD

Depression is not the only issue that can lead someone to misuse alcohol. Many people self-medicate with alcohol to numb the pain of the traumas that have occurred in their life. Many veterans for instance come home from war and due to the trauma of combat go on to develop a drinking problem. People who have suffered from abuse use alcohol to suppress their painful memories. Often time’s people with PTSD have difficulty falling asleep, so they use alcohol to try and get some sleep. Yet, drinking can actually make PTSD symptoms worse. Drinking can increase feelings of anxiety, depression, and induce isolation.


Alcohol is known for taking the edge off. Many people have a drink after work to help them relax and calm their mind after a stressful day. Due to this, it may seem that if you are very stressed increasing your alcohol consumption will help you relax more. While this may be tempting, the reality is that you are avoiding your problems.

Treatment For Alcohol Addiction

It is rare for alcoholics to suddenly decide to receive treatment on their own. Usually it takes hitting rock bottom, or an intervention by loved ones and a therapist for a person with addiction to decide that the best course of action for them and their families is to seek treatment. Families often decide to hold an intervention after a particularly bad episode of their loved ones alcoholism. For instance, an intervention may help after a DUI, accident, or large family fight. An intervention is a chance for loved ones to share their concerns with the alcoholic. It is then up to the alcoholic to decide if they would like to pursue treatment. There are many different types of treatment centers that a person with an addiction can choose to receive treatment. And depending on the severity of the person’s dependence, they may need different levels of care to get through the detox and withdrawal process.


Alcohol dependency occurs over a prolonged amount of time of heavy alcohol use. The brain becomes accustomed to the effects of alcohol, and when the alcohol consumption is stopped the body goes into withdrawals. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Shaking
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation

In more serious cases, the withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, seizures, hallucinations, and disorientation. These symptoms can last anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. This process is called detox. It is important that a patient with alcohol use disorder detox under medical supervision. Doctors and nurses can ensure that the patient stays safe, and that any emergencies  that arise are met with immediate medical intervention.

Further, they can provide the patient with pain medication to manage some of the more uncomfortable symptoms. Managing the detox process properly can ensure that the patient does not use simply to prevent the symptoms of withdrawal, and makes the entire process less intimidating. After the patient has gone through withdrawals they can then focus on the behavioral therapy that will help them manage their cravings for alcohol. Since alcoholism is a disease of both the mind and they body it is important that withdrawals and the desire to use are treated concurrently.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

There are many great treatment options for those who suffer from alcohol use disorder. The three general treatment options are inpatient treatment, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). These three options go from most intense to least intense, but all three are good options depending on each person’s needs.

Intensive outpatient programs are one of the most popular due to the fact that they allow the most flexibility while still providing lots of support and guidance. In an IOP, the patient will most likely be participating in group therapy sessions with other recovering drug and alcohol addicts. Treatment staff create a safe space for recovering addicts to share their feelings and emotions without judgment. IOPs’ are a good solution for those who are less acute, and who do not need a higher level of medical care. They offer the freedom to work full time, and fulfill their responsibilities as usual. These are often great alternatives to full time treatment, and one study even found that the results were comparable to inpatient treatment results. It is also not unusual for someone who has gotten a DUI to be required by law to attend an IOP.

During this treatment process, patients will begin to understand and confront their reasons for drinking. Once these emotions are excavated, professionals are able to provide techniques that patients can take into daily life which will help them avoid drinking alcohol and falling into old habits.

Ultimately, treatment is about what the patient puts into it. If there is a desire to live a sober and healthy life, then the support and encouragement found in treatment can positively change the life of someone who suffers from alcoholism. After finishing treatment, it is always strongly recommended that recovering alcoholics continue to use programming and support groups such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). These programs are free and help people who are dedicated to sobriety stay on the right path.

Take the First Step

If you are not ready to seek treatment, or just feel that you would like to cut back on your alcohol use, there are steps you can take. Be open and honest with your doctor about your desire to pull back on your alcohol consumption. He/she will help you figure out the  best way to cut back on your drinking. Reach out to family or friends for support. Surround yourself with people who do not regularly drink for fun.

Alcohol use disorder is serious and can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Not only is it extremely harmful to the body, it takes an emotional toll on both the person and their loved ones as well. If you or someone you know suffers from alcohol addiction, it is imperative that you seek treatment. Help is readily available if you are open to receiving it.