Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment

What is Addiction? | Symptoms & Signs of Addiction to Alcohol or Drugs | How Our Treatment Program Works | Infographic: Who’s Getting Treatment in Illinois?

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, but treatable, brain disorder. People who are addicted cannot control their need for alcohol or other drugs, even in the face of negative health, social or legal consequences. This lack of control is the result of alcohol or drug induced changes in the brain. Those changes, in turn cause behavior changes.

Symptoms & Signs of Addiction to Alcohol or Drugs

  • Continued use of alcohol or other drugs despite the negative consequences.
  • Tolerance to alcohol or other drugs by increasingly need larger amounts to get high.
  • Craving or a strong need to use alcohol or other drugs despite the consequences.
  • Loss of Control over the amount of alcohol or other drugs used or the time and place of use.
  • Physical Dependence or withdrawal symptoms when alcohol or other drugs are stopped.

Source: What is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families, Published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

How Our Treatment Program Works


The first step in our substance abuse treatment program is a clinical assessment of your individual treatment needs. This assessment helps in the development of an effective treatment plan.

Medical Care

Aunt Martha’s believes that treatment is most effective when it is integrated with other aspects of your health and well-being. Based on your individual needs, your counselor may coordinate your treatment with your primary care provider or other specialists you work with. If you do not have a primary care provider, your counselor can coordinate a referral to one of Aunt Martha’s nearby health centers.

A Treatment Plan

You, your treatment counselor, and the other health care professionals who make up your care team will develop a written treatment plan that includes:

  • Your treatment goals;
  • Activities designed to help you meet your goals;
  • Ways to tell whether your goals have been met; and,
  • A timeframe for meeting goals.
  • The treatment plan helps you and your care team stay focused and on track. It is adjusted over time to meet your changing needs.

Group and Individual Counseling

At first, individual counseling generally focuses on helping you find the motivation to stop using drugs or alcohol. Treatment then shifts to helping you stay drug and alcohol free. Your counselor will help you:

  • See the problem and become motivated to change;
  • Change your behavior;
  • Repair damaged relationships with family and friends;
  • Build new friendships with people who don’t use alcohol or drugs; and,
  • Create a recovery lifestyle.

In group counseling, group members support and try to help one another cope with life without using drugs or alcohol. This setting allows group members to share their experiences, talk about their feelings and problems, and find out that others have similar problems.

Education About Substance Use Disorders

You will learn about the symptoms and the effects of alcohol and drug use on your brain and body. You will also learn about your illness and how to manage it.

Extended Care Plan Option

Depending on your individual needs, your care plan may include:

  • Learning and practicing employment skills;
  • Leisure activities;
  • Social skills;
  • Communication skills;
  • Anger management;
  • Stress management;
  • Goal setting; and,
  • Money and time management.