Understanding Substance Use Disorders
The symptoms associated with a substance use disorder fall into four major groupings: impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria (i.e., tolerance and withdrawal).
To identify a substance use disorder, there should be some combination of the following symptoms occurring within a 12-month period.
The more symptoms that are present, the more severe the disorder:
- The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control use of the substance.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.
- Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use the substance.
- Recurrent use of the substance resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
- Continued use of the substance despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of its use.
- Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of use of the substance.
- Recurrent use of the substance in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- Use of the substance is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
- Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
- A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
- A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
- Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
- The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for that substance (as specified in the DSM-5 for each substance).
- The substance (or a closely related substance) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Material from National Institute of Drug Abuse; The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: The Basics