Substance Use Disorder Diagnosis & Treatment

All too many people and their families have felt the devastating impact of addiction and substance use disorder. Mercy can help you overcome substance dependency with a compassionate, personalized program of treatment and support. Our caring approach brings together a variety of specialists and services that focus on treating the whole person – body, mind and spirit. We have helped thousands of people break free from addiction to lead better, fuller lives – and we can help you as well.

Substance Use Assessment

Your Mercy doctor will likely conduct a blood, urine or saliva test to gauge the level of dangerous substances in the body. In addition to this screening procedure, they’ll also take a look at your medical and family history to determine whether certain risk factors are present. 

How is Drug Addiction Diagnosed? 

Recognizing a problem and seeking help is an important step for anyone looking to beat their drug addiction. A toxicology test or screening may check for up to thirty different drugs at once. These may include prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Testing is often done on urine or saliva instead of blood because many drugs will show up in a urine or saliva sample.

However, medical tests alone can’t diagnose an addiction. They can only establish the nature and level of drug use. Other tests may be performed alongside your physical exam to check for co-occurring diseases that may impact your susceptibility to addiction. 

How is Alcoholism Diagnosed?

Understanding one’s own harmful alcohol abuse is no small feat. But once a problem is identified, your Mercy doctor will likely want to conduct a physical exam and some lab tests to diagnose your disease.

And while no single test can diagnose alcoholism, abnormalities from results may suggest the presence of a disorder within the body. For instance, organ damage from excessive drinking may be determined based on the results of your test. Your Mercy doctor may also suggest a psychological evaluation to determine your feelings toward alcohol use. 

Substance Use & Addiction Treatment

While substance use dependency can be a frightening reality to confront, it’s important to keep in mind that all types of substance use are treatable with the right plan in place. The best treatments should be comprehensive, as substance dependency impacts all areas of one’s life. A variety of treatment approaches currently exist, and programs can be customized based on specific needs. 

At Mercy, we offer a variety of substance dependency recovery services for both adults and adolescents. While not all programs are available in all communities, your Mercy physician can help connect you with available resources to support your recovery journey.


An intervention is usually done after consultation with a Mercy doctor or behavioral health professional. During an intervention, friends and family members of the person struggling with substance dependency gather to confront them about their disorder. Toward the end, they discuss what treatment option is best given the circumstances. 


Detox is often the first step to treating patients recovering from moderate or severe forms of substance dependency. It can help people safely withdraw from drugs or alcohol until those substances are no longer in their systems. Detoxing from certain drugs may require medication-assisted therapy to help ease the severity of withdrawal symptoms. In such cases, prescribed medications are closely monitored during detox to gradually reduce use and dependence. 

Inpatient Rehab

During inpatient rehab, patients live in a substance-free facility, receiving round-the-clock medical care and therapeutic support. Structured treatment programs designed to help with all facets of addiction are offered. Inpatient rehab is the best option for people battling chronic addiction, as well as those suffering from a co-occurring mental or behavioral disorder. 

Outpatient Rehab

During outpatient rehab, patients receive many of the same treatments and therapies as inpatient rehab programs while living at home. Patients can continue to work and care for their families while still attending treatment sessions each week.

Since outpatient rehab programs don’t separate patients from their home environment, the risk of relapse is greater. Outpatient rehab is best suited for people with mild addictions who have a firm commitment to recovery.

Substance Use Information

At Mercy, we offer compassionate care for a variety of inpatient & outpatient substance abuse treatment services, including: Mercy offers support groups in many communities based on needs and availability. You might find it helpful to also pursue programs and resources offered through reputable mental health agencies.