How can I get help/support for a drug addiction/substance abuse issue?

Drug addiction, also known as a Substance Use Disorder, is a disease that affects a person's brain and behavior, leading to the inability to control their use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.  Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and nicotine also are considered drugs.  When one is addicted, the use of a drug may continue despite the harm it causes.

 Mental health problems and substance use disorders sometimes occur together.  This is because:

  • Certain illegal drugs can cause people with an addiction to experience one or more symptoms of a mental health condition.
  • Mental health problems can sometimes lead to alcohol or drug use, as some people with a mental health problem may misuse these substances as a form of self-medication.
  • Mental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma.

More than one in four adults living with serious mental health problems also has a substance use disorder.  Substance use disorders occur more frequently with certain mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and other personality disorders.

Drug addiction can start with experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations, and, for some people, the drug use becomes more frequent. For others, particularly with opioids, drug addiction begins with exposure to prescribed medications, or receiving medications from a friend or relative who has been prescribed the medication.

Recognizing Signs of Drug Use or Intoxication

You may wish to visit the webpage of the Mayo Clinic that discusses Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder) for information on symptoms and causes, and diagnosis and treatment. You may also want to consider visiting the webpage of the National Institute on Mental Health that discusses Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders for information pertaining to risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

Recovering from a Mental Health Condition and Substance Use

Someone living with a mental health condition and a substance use disorder must treat both issues. Treatment for both may include rehabilitation, medications, support groups, and talk therapy.  Listed below are several resources for finding treatment and support options that you may wish to explore. 

General Resources

  • NAMI Hearts+Minds is a wellness program designed to help better manage your mental and physical health with ways to advocate for your health, gut health and nutrition, diet and fitness, managing the side effects of medication, substance abuse and smoking cessation, and gaining a greater sense of control over your emotions. It is available as a 4-hour seminar or 4-session course at your local NAMI Affiliate
  • New York State HOPEline(877) 846-7369 or text 467369 (available 24/7), offers free and confidential services to those experiencing substance abuse and gambling disorders. Responds to callers and follows-up to ensure that referrals result in intake appointments and to provide support and additional referrals as appropriate. Services are offered in English, Spanish, Bengali, Traditional Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, and Russian.
  • The SAMHSA Treatment Locator, (800) 662-4357, is a Federal agency website that provides referrals of the different treatment facilities across the nation. Can narrow search by insurance, cost of treatment, and type of treatment. Includes programs like assertive community treatment and residential treatment. Good for low cost/sliding scale mental healthcare, substance abuse and dual diagnosis facilities.  Spanish-language calls are accepted.
  • Therapy Insider’s Sober Living Homes Locator is a mental and behavioral health directory website with access to sober living homes - independently owned and operated homes designed for young people who are serious about sobriety. These homes are an aftercare stage of rehabilitation providing enhanced support.  The best sober living homes charge a fee for rent, food, and counseling. Each home has its own unique set of house rules, shared responsibilities, and member expectations. 
  • The AddictionResource, (844) 905-0277, website providing information and resources and a treatment finder to help those recovering from addiction and their loved ones to find the highest quality care.  
  • In the Rooms provides an online social network for the global recovery community – for those already in recovery or seeking immediate help from addiction, and for families and allies of those individuals. It is free to join and members have access to over 129 live online meetings weekly. 
  • SMART Recovery, (440) 951-5357, is a substance use self-help program using cognitive behavioral therapy approaches to recover from addictive behaviors. Provides free, peer-led online and in-person support groups for individuals and family members/allies of those living with addiction. 
  • Start Your Recovery offers information about the signs, symptoms, conditions, and treatment options for people who are dealing with substance use issues, as well as resources for others who know someone struggling with addiction and a treatment locator tool. Website offers a “Find a Local Rehab Center”, counseling and in-person support groups function.
  • The WeRecover, (424) 365-9300, website provides a search function for nationwide addiction treatment centers and to compare pricing.  
  • Shatterproof works to revolutionize addiction treatment, end the stigma of addiction, and empower and educate communities. Provides information on addiction basics, prevention, treatment, recovery, safety, and loss. They also provide a “Find Help” option on their website.
  • NIAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator offers extensive information on alcohol use, how to help someone with an alcohol addiction, treatment facility finder and guidance on how to find and choose the best treatment options.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step program for individuals who believe they are living with an alcohol addiction; Website offers daily reflections, videos, and a find an in-person support group meeting feature as well as online intergroup/support groups. The website is also offered in Spanish
  • Al-Anon/Al-Ateen, (888) 425-2666 (Meeting Line), offers support and hope for family and friends of individuals (including teen-specific resources) abusing alcohol. Website offers find an in-person support group meeting feature; also offers phone and online meetings are also available. Spanish-language calls are accepted and the website is available in Spanish.
  • The website of the National Institute on Drug Abuse provides information on varying topics surrounding drug abuse including the following: current research being done on drug abuse, a variety of clinical resources, general information on drugs and drug abuse, information on grant opportunities, and news surrounding drugs and drug abuse.
  • The National Drug HelpLine, (844) 289-0879, is a free, confidential 24/7 hotline is for information about substance use or misuse.
  • The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, (855) 378-4373, supports families and caregivers in a supporting role in the life of a young person struggling with drug or alcohol use.  They offer information, resources, peer support (parent coaching – phone-based support).  Spanish-language calls are accepted and they offers resources in Spanish on their website.
  • Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) Resource Center is a 12-step self-help membership organization for individuals with a dual diagnosis. Features a find an in-person support group meeting search function on its website.
  • Narcotics Anonymous, (818) 773-9999 x771, offers recovery from the effects of narcotics addiction through twelve-step program, including regular attendance at group meetings. Website offers a find an in-person support group meeting feature.
  • Nar-Anon, (800) 477-6291, is designed to help relatives/friends of addicts recover from the effects of coping with a narcotics-addicted relative or friend. Website offers find an in-person support group meeting feature. 

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