What is a Substance Use Disorder?

I have talked before (Words Matter: Alcohol and Drugs) about the idea that not everyone who uses drugs is an “addict” in much the same way that not everyone who drinks is an “alcoholic”. Even the terms addict and alcoholic are hard to define. In the counseling profession, we use specific criteria to determine whether or not a person should be diagnosed with what we call Substance Use Disorder.

Here are some general questions related to the criteria for substance use disorder:

1)      Do you use larger amounts of substances or use them for a longer period of time than you planned or intended?

2)      Have you tried to quit or cut down your substance use but were unable to?

3)      Do you spend a lot of time getting substances, using them, or recovering from their use?

4)      Do you sometimes have an urge or impulse to use substances that was hard to resist?

5)      Has your use of a substance keep you from going to work, going to school or taking care of things at home?

6)      Can you answer yes to any of the following statements? (a) Someone has objected to my substance use (b) Some of my relationships have been damaged by my substance use (c) My substance use has caused arguments with people I know.

7)      Have your social or recreational activities changed or have you missed work opportunities as a result of your substance use?

8)      Have you…  (a) driven under the influence of substances or (b) had any type of accident while under the influence of substances?

9)      Do you have any medical conditions that are caused by or made worse by substance use?

10)   Do you… (a) have to use more substances than when you first started to get the desired effect or  (b) find you are able to use more now than when you started?

11)   Have you been sick when you stopped using substances or had to use a substance to make withdrawal symptoms go away?

If you’re able to answer yes to 2 or 3 of the numbered questions over the past 12 months, you may want to consider talking to a professional about your use. If you can answer yes to 4 or more of these questions, I really encourage you to talk to a professional for further assessment.

Don’t let your use of a substances impact your health or control your behavior. Modern advancements in treatment for substance abuse have revolutionized the process and made recovery possible for more people than ever. Contact us to find out about treatment options available through Recovery in Oklahoma, LLC or check out the SAMHSA Treatment locator here.