Many patients get caught up in trying to define their relationship with drugs and alcohol. For example, drug abuse, has a far less threatening reputation than that of drug addiction. According to Medline Plus, an issue with drug abuse is defined as the regular abuse of any illicit substance including alcohol over the course of a year with negative consequences. These negative consequences can be financial, interpersonal, work-related, legal, health-related – anything that changes the patient’s experience of day-to-day life for the worse.2
One study performed in Norway demonstrated that brief advice given early can affect gamma glutamyl transferase levels and reported alcohol consumption. Early warning makes a difference to persons who drink heavily. In a study of 200 workers with alcoholism, recalling a physician's warning about drinking at the beginning of the study was associated with a better prognosis 2 years later. Unfortunately, less than 25% had received warnings from their physicians, again illustrating the problem of missed diagnosis.
Within the framework of the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), substance dependence is redefined as a drug addiction, and can be diagnosed without the occurrence of a withdrawal syndrome. It was described accordingly: "When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed. Compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. This, along with Substance Abuse are considered Substance Use Disorders." In the DSM-5 (released in 2013), substance abuse and substance dependence have been merged into the category of substance use disorders and they no longer exist as individual diagnosis.
Residential drug treatment can be broadly divided into two camps: 12-step programs and therapeutic communities. Twelve-step programs are a nonclinical support-group and faith-based approach to treating addiction. Therapy typically involves the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy, an approach that looks at the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, addressing the root cause of maladaptive behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy treats addiction as a behavior rather than a disease, and so is subsequently curable, or rather, unlearnable. Cognitive-behavioral therapy programs recognize that, for some individuals, controlled use is a more realistic possibility.
Addiction affects not just the addict but also everyone that person comes into contact with. The addict will likely suffer physical consequences, social consequences, emotional consequences, financial consequences, and perhaps even legal consequences as a result of their drug use. As the drug addict’s personal life falls apart, their work and health will likely suffer as well. Drug addicts are more likely to have domestic violence problems, to lose their jobs, and to be arrested than those who are not addicts, proving that addiction, if left untreated, can negatively impact every facet of a person’s life.
Alcoholism can also be categorized into 2 types: early-onset (biological predisposition to the disease) or late-onset (brought on by environmental or psychosocial triggers). Understanding and studying the difference between early- and late-onset alcoholism facilitate the selection of the appropriate therapy. Drugs that affect the rewarding behavior of neural activities, such as ondansetron, naltrexone, topiramate, and baclofen, have been shown to alter drinking behavior. 
Substance abuse therapy: Used as a part of many inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy is one of the cornerstones of drug addiction treatment. Individual, group and family therapy help patients and their loved ones understand the nature and causes of addiction. Therapy teaches coping strategies and life skills needed to live a productive, sober life in the community. For individuals with a co-occurring mental illness, intensive psychotherapy can also address psychiatric symptoms and find the underlying issues that contribute to addiction. Inside Shalom House, Australia’s ‘strictest’ drug rehabilitation | Australian Story