Substance abuse disorder is a brain disease that causes compulsive use and abuse of alcohol, drugs, and other illicit substances. People with substance abuse disorders continue to use drugs or alcohol, despite increasingly negative consequences.
Substance abuse causes changes in the parts of the brain that regulate impulsiveness, decision-making, judgment, learning, and memory. It causes harmful changes to brain function that outlast the feelings of intoxication.
You might also witness your child while intoxicated. They might act defensively or belligerently. Your child might even steal money or engage in reckless or self-destructive behavior.
If you suspect your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, you should address the issue right away. Early drug and alcohol use increases their risk of addiction that persists into adulthood.
Drugs and alcohol also have a detrimental effect on physical, mental, and emotional development. It can interfere with their academic success and lower their potential.
Dr. Copelan begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation. If your child has a substance abuse disorder, she provides referrals for specialized treatment centers for substance abuse and dependency.
At the same time, Dr. Copelan can diagnose related mental health conditions. She might prescribe medication and therapy to supplement your child’s substance abuse treatment program.