Substance Abuse Specialist

Unite Recovery

Addiction Medicine & Telehealth located in College Corner, OH

Harmful use of medication, illegal drugs, or alcohol are common signs of substance abuse. If you’re exhibiting substance abuse signs in your daily life, board-certified addiction medicine specialist Carlene Westfall, MD, provides comprehensive treatment for substance abuse at Unite Recovery in College Corner, Ohio. Call Unite Recovery or schedule an appointment online today for effective, compassionate substance abuse treatment.

Substance Abuse Q & A

What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse refers to a pattern or harmful or dangerous use of drugs, medication, or alcohol. Regular abuse can lead to a full-blown addiction if you’re using a substance beyond its intended purpose.


Unlike addiction, substance abuse isn’t a disease. By recognizing the signs of substance abuse early on, you can intercept potentially severe damage to your health and safety.

What are the signs of substance abuse?

You may not realize you have a substance abuse problem until it evolves into an addiction. If you suspect you’re developing a substance abuse disorder, common signs include:


  • Using the substance more frequently than recommended
  • Increasing your dosage or intake of the substance
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Failing to meet social, work, or school obligations
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Continuing to use despite negative consequences
  • Financial problems
  • Increasing tolerance
  • Using in dangerous or abnormal situations (while driving, at work, at school, etc.)


Substance abuse can feel all-consuming. If you frequently think about your next hit, how to get more, or how to wean off the substance you’re using, you may have a substance abuse disorder.

What are the most common substance abuse disorders?

Nearly any substance can lead to addiction, but the most common types are:


  • Alcohol
  • Opioids, such as oxycodone OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), morphine, etc.
  • Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, etc.)
  • Stimulants (amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine)
  • Hallucinogens, including lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Cannabis (marijuana)


Substance abuse disorders aren’t one-size-fits-all. They can develop concurrently with other substance abuse disorders or mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. By addressing the underlying cause of substance abuse, Dr. Westfall can help you recover at Unite Recovery.

What are the treatments for substance abuse?

The individualized treatment plan that Dr. Westfall designs for you depends on your medical history, current health status, lifestyle, and the severity of your substance abuse disorder. Most treatments involve a combination approach to target the source of your disorder and the symptoms. 


Dr. Westfall’s goal in treatment is to encourage a safe, healthy recovery while minimizing your risk of relapse. Common substance abuse treatments she often recommends are:


  • Addiction counseling (individual cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, etc.)
  • Suboxone® withdrawal treatment
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Inpatient or outpatient detox


At Unite Recovery, Dr. Westfall also offers online addiction therapy in individual and group settings to help you get the care you need from the comfort of your own home. Call Unite Recovery today or schedule an appointment online to learn more.