Substance Abuse Disorder
Alcohol and drug addiction impacts a diverse range of Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age, or gender. According to statistics provided by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 20 million adults struggled with a substance abuse disorder in 2017. Because addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, the only way to successfully overcome a substance abuse disorder is with a multi-pronged approach that includes medically monitored detox and withdrawal, psychotherapy, participation in a recovery community, and ongoing aftercare following rehab. In some individuals, medically assisted treatment (MAT) will also improve recovery outcomes.
Signs of a Substance Use Disorder
There are usually red flags that can alert someone that a loved one is struggling with a substance problem. As the addiction escalates, the symptoms will encroach into all aspects of their life. These warning signs might include:
The specific physical symptoms exhibited by someone with a substance use disorder will depend on the specific substance of abuse, as well as the length of history of the addiction or dependency. Examples of substances of abuse include:
Diagnosing a Substance Use Disorder
The DSM-5 has provided eleven diagnostic criteria of a substance abuse disorder to define the condition as mild, moderate, or severe. A clinical diagnosis would need to involve a minimum of two of the following criteria:
- The substance is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended.
- There is a persistent desire to cut down or quit using the substance, but is unable to do so.
- 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.
- Failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home due to continued use of the substance.
- Continued use of the substance despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused by use of the substance.
- Giving up or reducing important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of use of the substance.
- Recurrent use of the substance in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- Continued use of the substance despite persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems 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.
Making the decision to embark on the addiction recovery journey is a life changer. The commitment to achieving freedom from a substance use disorder means that you value your life and your loved ones, and truly want to be around to fulfill your life’s purpose.
From the moment that important decision is made, the quest begins to find the best rehab program for your, or a loved one’s, unique treatment needs. With a vast array of detox and rehabilitation options available, it helps to have an expert resource like The Treatment Specialist to guide you through your treatment options.
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