What is Substance Abuse?

Addiction causes long-term chemistry changes within the brain and body, affecting one’s learning, judgment, decision-making skills, ability to cope with stress, memory, and behavior.

The disease also harms physical and psychological health, exacerbates mental health conditions (pre-existing or not), hinders personal and professional development, ruins relationships, leads people to compromise their values and beliefs and robs them of their self-worth.

At Behavioral Health Centers, a leading addiction rehab in Port St. Lucie, FL, our team of addiction and mental health specialists recognizes that there is a gap in the system between those who need addiction treatment and those who receive it. We provide comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs at our addiction rehabs near you in conjunction with therapy. Our philosophy of care has helped a multitude of individuals recover and break free of addiction while building a foundation for lasting change. Explore our different treatment options for drug rehab and alcohol rehab.

Get Help Today

Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.

Check Insurance

If you have coverage of any kind from a major insurance provider, your treatment is likely covered. We promise to keep your information confidential.

What is Addiction?

Drug and alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that affects how the brain and body function. While drinking and taking drugs is ultimately a choice, individuals who are diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD), either develop it over time or have some sort of pre-existing condition or gene that was most likely passed down from a relative.

Not only do drugs and alcohol cause severe physical and psychological health complications for those engaging in these addictive behaviors, but, most importantly, substance use and mental health disorders affect various relationships including family and friends.

The most common indicator of addiction is the continued use of a substance despite the consequences that ensue as a result. It is important to note, that although addiction is a disease that will always persist, it can be effectively prevented, treated, and managed by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals in combination with support and counseling in a trusted addiction treatment center.

man with drug abuse problem undergoing addiction treatment in Florida

Prevalence of Addiction

Addiction is extremely prevalent, so much so, that addiction to drugs and alcohol costs the United States a whopping $600 billion annually! Let this sink in: this disease is more deadly than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. 40 million people in the United States (1 in 7), aged 12 and older, abuse or become addicted to drugs and alcohol. However, only a few ever receive addiction treatment for a variety of reasons including financial burden and stigma.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Reaching out and receiving help is the first step and a life-changing one at that. Although, in order to do so effectively, it is imperative to recognize the signs that you or a loved one may be suffering from addiction. While these symptoms can be difficult to detect and understand, medical professionals will be able to detect and diagnose more accurately, as well as, provide treatments that help people to recover quicker and successfully.

Dependence and tolerance to drugs and alcohol almost always leads to addiction. While the most common symptoms of substance use disorders are severe loss of control, preoccupation with using, and failed attempts to quit (relapse), there are major ones to look out for. These signs and symptoms include the following:

Overall Symptoms of Addiction

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Trembling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

3 Common Substance Abuse Symptom Types

Behavioral Signs

  • Denial of having a problem, despite showing clear signs
  • Hiding drug use
  • Using drugs and alcohol despite harmful effects
  • Lying and stealing
  • Loss of control
  •  Having obsessive, intrusive, and uncontrollable thoughts of using

Physical Signs

  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Stumbling- Lack of physical coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Insomnia
  • Poor hygiene
  • Constricting pupils
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sudden weight gain or loss

Emotional Signs

  • Sudden mood swings
  • Change in personality
  • Lack of sleep
  • Irritability or angry
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Paranoia

Substances That Require Addiction Treatment in Port St. Lucie, FL

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is one of the most accessible used and abused substances in the world. Unfortunately, approximately 88,000 people in the United States, die from alcohol-related incidences, such as car accidents, overdose, conditions such as cirrhosis (liver disease), and other injuries each year. Worldwide, an alcohol use disorder (AUD) is one of the most prevalent conditions, causing the most illnesses and deaths. Within the United States, alcoholism due to binge drinking has increased over the years.

Binge drinking is classified as drinking a lot in a short amount of time. This differs for men and women, with females being the driving force behind the nationwide increase in the rate of binge drinking and cases of alcoholism. In April 2015, binge drinking among women increased more than seven times the rate among men.

man with alcohol addiction in need of effective treatment program to be sober

An addiction to alcohol is classified under the DSM-5 as an alcohol use disorder (AUD). It is a complex disease that when misused, essentially poisons the body. The depressant diminishes brain and body function, damages organs in the body such as the liver and heart, and also causes malnutrition, dehydration, stomach ulcers, and sexual dysfunction.

If left untreated or undiagnosed for a prolonged period of time, alcoholism can commonly lead to overdose-related deaths. In order for a person to be diagnosed with alcoholism or an AUD, they have to fall under the 11 criteria or symptoms. These include:

  • Alcohol is consumed in large amounts over long periods of time.
  • Unsuccessful efforts to control alcohol intake.
  • A majority of time is spent getting alcohol, planning out when the binge will be or recovering from its effects (hangover).
  • Strong cravings or desire to use alcohol.
  • Continuing to drink alcohol despite the worsening of persistent, recurrent, or interpersonal complications.
  • Giving up or reducing important social, occupational, or recreational activities you once enjoyed due to alcohol use.
  • Recurrent alcohol use in situations that are physically hazardous.
  • Continued use of alcohol despite having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological harm that has been exacerbated by alcohol.
  • Tolerance for alcohol occurs when someone drinks an excessive amount to feel the desired effect, or they don’t feel any effects because they continue to drink the same amount.
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur due to the characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol or another substance such as a benzodiazepine is taken to relieve symptoms of withdrawal or mental illness such as anxiety.

Alcoholism can be destructive and isolating. Therefore, there are many more reasons why seeking help for an alcohol use disorder (AUD) at an addiction treatment center in Port St. Lucie, FL, is beneficial in bettering one’s life. If you or a loved one struggles with binge drinking, overcoming this vicious cycle is possible with the help of the experts here at Behavioral Health Centers.

Drug Addiction

Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. A common misconception is that people who use commonly abused drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, lack a moral compass, and they can just quit when they want to. However, drug addiction is a complex disease that changes the way the brain functions permanently.

Therefore, quitting is a hard cycle to break. Researchers know about how drugs affect the brain, thus, how a person’s thinking and behavior are compromised as a result. The good news is that there are treatments and strategies that can help people recover from drug abuse and lead productive high-quality lives.

man with addiction problem in need of drug rehab in Port St Lucie, FL

How Do Drugs Affect Our Brain?

Most drugs, prescription or not, affect the brain’s reward region. When a drug such as marijuana is taken, it releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which causes a person to feel its side effects of feeling “high” and euphoric. When this reward system is functioning normally, it is tricked into believing that the drugs are a pleasurable behavior, when in reality it is just the opposite. The brain’s chemistry has been rewired, and therefore, is motivated to repeat this addictive behavior again and again. As an individual continues to use drugs, the brain tells the body that it has become used to it, or tolerant. This means that the body doesn’t really feel that same euphoria they felt like the first time they tried it. Thus, dependency and tolerance to the drug almost always lead to addiction. In addition, as the brain has forever adapted itself, other activities that were once pleasurable and of importance to a person become a second thought.


One of the most common reasons for people’s drug addictions is due to opioids, otherwise known as prescription drugs. Chronic pain affects millions of people daily, and therefore, relief is a priority, but it is not always found or done in the proper manner. Opioids such as Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Oxycodone), OxyContin (Percocet), fentanyl, morphine, codeine, etc., are manufactured to relieve pain quickly and effectively. However, while they do their job, they only provide short-term relief, and most importantly, are highly addictive.

How Do Opiods Work?

When opioids are taken as a means to relieve pain, the nerve cells within the brain attach to opioid receptors, the spinal cord, and other parts of the body. When this occurs, the opioids block the signals in the spinal cord and brain, which tell the body that there is pain present. Since they are effective in relieving pain, even only for a short period of time, this is an incentive to keep wanting more, despite the addictive nature of them.

Prescription Medications vs Heroin

As these opioids are required to be prescribed by a physician, people turn to more accessible and less costly opioids such as heroin

This other addictive form of opioid is often laced with a synthetic chemical called fentanyl, which is the main cause of opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Thus, the cyclical epidemic continues.

A successful addiction recovery program includes treatment programs, therapies, coping skills, which help to introduce patients to new experiences and ways of enjoying life in sobriety, and ongoing support.

Get Help Today

Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.

Check Insurance

If you have coverage of any kind from a major insurance provider, your treatment is likely covered. We promise to keep your information confidential.

Addiction Treatment Program Options

medication assisted treatment for substance use disorders

There are various substance abuse treatment options available to people suffering from addiction and mental illness. As everyone’s needs are different, treatment methods will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as:

  • What type of substance(s) does the person use
  • The severity of the addiction
  • If there are any co-occurring conditions that have developed or pre-existing (i.e., bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety).

Various specialized therapies have also been proven to be useful for types of drug and alcohol addictions. A good way to think about it is, addiction doesn’t ever just go away, it is managed to stay away. Therefore, after treatment is completed, it is highly recommended to continue your path to recovery by reinforcing the lessons taught in alcohol and drug rehab by attending aftercare programs, support groups, and therapy sessions.

At Behavioral Health Centers, our evidence-based substance abuse inpatient addiction treatment program, comprehensively manages the disease of addiction through a multi-pronged approach and coordinated care. Strategies include medical and clinical care, detox, medication management, teaching coping and life skills, relapse prevention techniques, therapy, and support groups, etc. Other methods of treatment include:


Before official treatment has begun, patients undergo a comprehensive recovery process called Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT), also known as detoxification. Medical detox programs are designed to help people abstain from drugs and alcohol, so they can focus on recovering and maintaining a sober, healthier life. This work is done in a safe, secure, and supervised environment.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment, also known as an inpatient treatment program, provides the highest level of rehab services for patients diagnosed with alcohol or other drug addiction like meth or benzos. Individuals with severe addictions are the best candidates for this type of treatment. While living at the facility, specialists provide patients with 24-7 medical monitoring and individualized plans, including detoxification, therapy, medication management, integrated with inpatient mental health services.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient addiction treatment like Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) or Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is different from inpatient treatment. People who have already attended treatment or have less severe addictions are the best candidates. Individuals do not live at the rehab facility but will receive extensive weekly treatment while being able to live independently at home.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

patient with addiction and mental health disorders at a recovery center in Port Saint Lucie

People with mental illness such as depression, tend to cope with their symptoms by turning to drugs and alcohol. Mental illness is a major risk factor for addiction. Having both a mental illness and substance use disorder is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

If you or a loved one struggles with both, which is very common, it is imperative to seek dual diagnosis treatment immediately. If left untreated or undiagnosed for a prolonged period of time, conditions will worsen.

Behavioral Health Centers believes in treating both addiction and mental illness simultaneously to ensure long term recovery.

Common Co-occurring  Conditions

Mental disorders that occur with substance use disorders are severe conditions that are treated together, as they are hard to beat on their own. Common mental disorders that occur with substance use include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Schizophrenia

Therapy and Counseling Options for Treating Substance Abuse

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is formally known as psychotherapy. This type of counseling or therapy is used for those suffering from substance abuse and mental illness. The best candidates for individual therapy are individuals who need a more personal, hands-on approach to therapy. This type of counseling is done not in a group, where the private one-on-one sessions help to really solve the root of the problem quicker.

Group Therapy

As the name suggests, group therapy is counseling done in a group. This form of support was designed to be surrounded by like-minded people going through similar experiences, as a support system is one of the major elements contributing to successful recoveries.

Group therapy has proven to be one of the most effective treatments in many mental and physical health areas. Most professionals agree that group practices are preferable to individual therapy because people feel most motivated and supported when their struggles are understood better by individuals who are directly affected, other than family and friends. By attending group therapy, patients gain insight, communication, compassion, and accountability.

group therapy as part of addiction treatment in Port St Lucie, FL

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of treatment used for those with drug and alcohol addictions. CBT is very solution-oriented, and therefore, this approach aims to help people become and stay sober. There is some evidence that demonstrates that addiction is a learned behavior, and therefore, those who specialize in cognitive-behavioral therapy can benefit from changing their distorted patterns of thought to break the cycle of addiction.

BHC also provides treatment for the following substances: Alcohol, Benzos, Cocaine, Drugs, Fentanyl, Heroin, Meth, and Prescription Drugs.

Behavioral Health Centers Can Help Today

Recognizing the signs of addiction is the first step in getting help. The reasons mentioned above prove that addiction and mental illness can be effectively managed, treated, and even prevented in combination with effective treatment and support.

To learn more about substance abuse treatment, our facilities, and what to expect, contact us at Behavioral Behavioral Health Centers today!