Modern medical terminology for common conditions can sometimes be confusing. One term that you are likely to hear as you to explore the topics of rehabilitation, addiction, and recovery is “substance use disorder.” But what is substance use disorder? And how is it different from substance abuse, substance dependence, and drug addiction?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), currently in its fifth edition, is the primary text that medical and mental health professionals use to diagnose psychiatric conditions. In previous versions of the DSM, there were two categories used to describe drug-related conditions of this kind: “substance abuse” and “substance dependence.” The authors of the DSM 5 have combined these into the single category “substance use disorder.”
Substance use disorder, often abbreviated to SUD, is a more medically appropriate and exact term for drug addiction. This is in part because it allows us to talk about addiction for what it really is: a medical condition. And as organizations like the world-renowned Mayo Clinic have pointed out, addiction is a disease that affects brain function, leading sufferers to be unable to control their use of substances.
The right treatment program, like the one at Zelus Recovery in Boise, ID, can help you better understand what is substance use disorder, and identify if you or someone you love is suffering from one. And if you are, we can help put you on the road to recovery.
Criteria for Substance Use Disorder
First, it is important to understand that SUDs can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending upon how many of the criteria for SUD you meet. It is also vital to understand that just because your substance use disorder can be classified as mild does not mean that you should not seek help. Living your best life means living a life completely free of addiction. By better understanding the criteria by which doctors and other medical professionals identify a SUD, you can better determine your own needs regarding reaching out for help.
The 11 criteria for determining what is substance abuse disorder, as laid out in the DSM 5, are separated into four categories. These categories are:
- Impaired control (substance taken in greater amounts or over longer periods than intended, persistent failed attempts to quit or cut down, significant time spent obtaining the substance, cravings for the substance)
- Social impairment (continued/recurrent use despite persistent social or interpersonal problems; social, occupational, or recreational activities reduced as a result of substance use)
- Risky use (recurrent use in situations that are physically hazardous, continued use despite knowledge of a persistent physical or psychological problem exacerbated by use of the substance)
- Presence of pharmacological indicators (increased tolerance, experience of withdrawal).
A mild SUD is characterized by meeting 2 or 3 of the 11 criteria. A moderate SUD is characterized by meeting 4 or 5 of the 11 criteria. And someone who meets 6 or more of the 11 criteria is considered to have a severe SUD.
What Are My Next Steps?
If you suspect that you or someone you know may meet any of these criteria, it can be tempting to try to solve the problem yourself. Research indicates, however, that to maximize your chances of successfully treating a SUD, you must reach out to a health care professional. Treatment centers like Zelus Recovery are specifically designed to provide addiction treatment for adolescents and young adults suffering from substance abuse disorders.
Contact Us Today
Whatever the substance — legal, illegal, or prescribed — and whoever the patient, Zelus Recovery is waiting to take your call. Contact us today by calling 208.518.0797. Substance abuse disorder doesn’t have to control your life or the life of someone you love. We’re here to take the first steps on the road to recovery with you.