An Overview of Substance Use Disorders

An Overview of Substance Use Disorders 

Substance use is a growing problem across populations. As a helping professional, you need a basic understanding of how substance use affects your clients. This information will help you to provide support and resources to help clients seek treatment and recovery. In this course, you will explore substance use disorders, how they develop, and their impact on individuals. The course also explains your role as a paraprofessional when working with individuals with substance use disorders. You will be provided an overview of evidence-based interventions and the types of substance use treatment programs available, when additional treatment may be necessary. Detailed examples will help you to apply this information in your own work. The goal of this course is to provide paraprofessionals and peer support specialists in health and human service settings with information on substance use disorders and evidence-based interventions.


Hours: 1.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (1 Match)

National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals


This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-BHC-0-AOSUD
Hours: 1
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 9/30/2026
Learning Objectives:
Explain what a substance use disorder is, how it develops, and how it impacts individuals.
Identify strategies that paraprofessionals can use when working with individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders to encourage behavior change.
Describe the types of treatment that exist for people diagnosed with substance use disorders.

Section 1: Introduction

About This Course

Learning Objectives

Section 2: What is a Substance Use Disorder?

Common Terminology

Definition of Substance Use Disorder

Methods of Substance Use

When Does Substance Use Become a Disorder?


Types of Substance Use Disorders

Case Example

Factors to Consider

How a Substance Use Disorder Develops

Harmful Effects



Section 3: Strategies for Facilitating Change

Your Role

Stages of Change

Motivational Interviewing

Building a Therapeutic Relationship



Section 4: Types of Treatment

Early Intervention

Harm Reduction

Making the Referral

Evidence-Based Treatment

12-Step Groups



Section 5: Conclusion

Course Summary

Course Contributor




Instructor: Bryn Davis, M.Ed, LPC
Bryn Davis received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Sociology from the University of Virginia and a Master's of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lynchburg College. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in North Carolina. Prior to joining Relias in 2020, she served as Clinical Director of a community mental health agency, developed an intensive treatment program for individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders, and provided outpatient counseling focused on trauma-informed care. Disclosure: Bryn Davis, M.Ed, LPC has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Direct Support Professionals; in the following settings: Health and Human Services.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.