What Is Substance Use Disorder?
A substance use disorder is the term given when someone has a set of symptoms related to the problematic use of drugs and alcohol. Continued use can disrupt one’s thoughts, behaviors, and overall physical well-being. Because the desire to continue using drugs and alcohol is strong, a person may compromise values and morals and sacrifice primary relationships. Being addicted to a substance has strong physical and psychological controls on a person.
Prolonged use of drugs and alcohol can change brain circuits and have a negative impact on how a person thinks and feels. Some changes may persist even after the elimination of drugs and alcohol. A residential treatment program is suggested to be the most effective way to help a person recover from a substance use disorder. A residential setting support recovery by offering:
- 24-hours in a drug-free setting
- Community of support
- Accessible licensed, trained and experienced professionals
- Recovery planning approach stepping down through care continuum
- Emersion into experiences and education to build skills, life strategies, social networks and vocational readiness for sustained recovery
Characteristics of Substance Use Disorder
There are clear indications that your loved one may be suffering from a substance use disorder, it is best to review your observations with a professional and decide if addiction treatment is needed. Below are some of the common indicators that someone may be suffering from a substance use disorder:
- Mood Swings
- Always Broke
- Not following through on commitments
- Drastic change in friends
- Dropping out of school
- Flunking a semester
- Failure to transition to adulthood
- Avoiding family
- Disappearing for periods of time
- Extreme weight loss
- Trouble staying awake
- Sleeping for abnormally long periods of time
Categories of Substance Abuse
The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists four categories of classification of use. Of those four, Social Impairment is when most people enter addiction treatment programs or commonly referred to as drug rehabilitation programs. Often, this is the time when those closest to the person with the addiction recognize that something is wrong. It is essential to intercede at this point to help protect your loved one from more physical and emotional damage due to substance abuse. Below is a list of the four categories, as indicated in the DSM-5.
- Impaired Control – Taking large amounts of substances over a longer period than intended. Unsuccessful attempts to cut down and/or ongoing cravings or urges to use.
- Social Impairment – Because of substance abuse, your loved one has failed to fulfill roles such as work, school, and employment. Increased interpersonal problems such as withdrawal from family and giving up social and recreational activities.
- Risky Use– Using substances is physically hazardous, and your loved one continues to use, despite knowledge of negative consequences. Failure to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
- Pharmacological – Tolerance is high, needing more substances to obtain effects. Withdrawal symptoms are present when the substance effects wear off, indicating physical dependence.