What is a Substance Use Disorder (SUD)?

September 7, 2022 by andrew

Substance use disorders can be terrible conditions but seeking the correct therapy can help you recover and also discover a better means to live. Learn more listed below to learn about substance use disorders as well as what you can do if you’re concerned that you’re dealing with addiction.

Substance use disorders are treatable yet complicated conditions that create a person to blow up of their use of substance use. With the appropriate therapy, people can get over substance use disorders as well as find a new way to live.

What is a Substance Use Disorder (SUD)?

A Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a clinical problem that is specified by the lack of ability to manage using a specific substance (or materials) regardless of dangerous effects.1 In various other words, SUDs take place when a specific compulsively abuses drugs or alcohol and continues abusing the substance despite understanding the negative effect it carries their life.

SUDs may vary from mild to serious, with extent relying on the variety of analysis requirements a person satisfies. When somebody is diagnosed with light SUD, this indicates a person displays 2-3 signs and symptoms, modest means they show 4-5 signs and symptoms, and serious means they present 6 or more.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has developed 11 requirements for SUD medical diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

  • The DSM-5 Criteria for Substance Use Disorders includes:
  • Taking the substance for long periods of time or in bigger amounts than planned.
  • Being incapable to reduce or quit substance use.
  • Investing a lot of time getting, making use of, and recouping from the effects of the substance.
  • Experiencing yearnings, or intense desires or prompts for the substance.
  • Falling short to accomplish responsibilities at work, school, or home because of substance use.
  • Continuing substance use despite having social or interpersonal issues that are created or aggravated by substance use.
  • Giving up social, entertainment, or job-related tasks as a result of substance use.
  • Using the substance in unsafe or dangerous situations.
  • Continuing substance use despite having a physical or psychological problem that is most likely due to substance use.
  • Resistance, or requiring even more of the substance to accomplish previous results.
  • Withdrawal, implying that undesirable symptoms happen when you stop utilizing your substance of choice.

Substance Use Disorder Statistics

The National Survey on Drug Use and also Health (NSDUH) gives stats on substance use and also substance use disorders across the US. One of the most current NSDUH (2019) results reveal the frequency of SUDs in general and also specific kinds of the following: SUDs in the United States in individuals aged 12 and also older over the previous year.

  • 4 million people had an SUD.
  • 5 million had an alcohol use disorder.
  • 6 million had a cannabis use disorder.
  • 1 million had a drug use disorder.
  • 438,000 had a heroin use disorder.
  • 1 million had a methamphetamine use disorder.
  • 558,000 had a prescription stimulant use disorder.
  • 681,000 had a prescription depressant or sedative use disorder.
  • 4 million had a prescription pain reliever disorder.
  • 6 million had an opioid use disorder.

The NSDUH additionally gathers data about receipt of as well as need for substance use therapy.

  • 1 million individuals aged 12 as well as older with a SUD received therapy in the past year.
  • 9 million aged 12 or older had a previous year SUD however did not get therapy at a specialized center.
  • 1 numerous these people felt they didn’t require therapy.
  • 236,000 felt they required treatment and made an effort to get it.
  • 577,00 felt they required therapy yet didn’t make an effort to get it.

Substance Use Disorder vs. Substance Abuse

The terms substance use disorder and chemical abuse are commonly used reciprocally, nonetheless they hold extremely various significances. SUD, also known as addiction, is a diagnosable medical condition that calls for an individual fulfills a minimum of 2 of the 11 DSM requirements.2 On the various other hand, drug abuse, or substance misuse, are terms that are made use of when a person makes use of a substance wrongly or in manner ins which create damage to themselves and also individuals around them.5 Unlike SUDs, chemical abuse isn’t a diagnosable disorder. Nevertheless, persistent substance abuse can possibly lead to the development of an SUD.

Kinds Of Substance Use Disorders

The DSM gives analysis requirements for 10 courses of SUD, which, omitting caffeine as well as cigarette, includes:

  • Alcohol use disorder.
  • Cannabis use disorder, additionally referred to as cannabis use disorder.
  • Phencyclidine use disorder, a kind of hallucinogen.
  • Various other hallucinogen-use disorder, that includes hallucinogens besides phencyclidine.
  • Inhalant use disorder.
  • Opioid use disorder.
  • Sedative, Hypnotic, or Anxiolytic use disorder, which includes materials like benzodiazepines, benzodiazepine-like drugs such as zolpidem (Ambien), carbamates, and barbiturates.
  • Stimulant use disorder, that includes materials like drug or methamphetamine.

Exactly How Is Substance Use Disorder Treated?

Reliable therapies for substance use disorders are offered.

The very first step is recognition of the issue. When an individual does not have recognition of bothersome substance use, the recuperation process can be postponed. Although interventions by worried family and friends typically prompt treatment, self-referrals are encouraged and also constantly welcome.

A medical professional should carry out a formal evaluation of signs and symptoms to determine if a substance use disorder exists. All patients can take advantage of therapy, regardless of whether the disorder is light, moderate, or severe. However, many individuals who fulfill requirements for a substance use disorder and could gain from therapy do not receive help.

Due to the fact that SUDs affect numerous aspects of an individual’s life, multiple kinds of therapy are often called for. For most, a mix of medication and also private or team therapy is most effective. Therapy strategies that deal with a person’s particular circumstance and also any co-occurring clinical, psychiatric, and social troubles is optimal for bring about continual recuperation.

Medicines are made use of to regulate medicine yearnings, alleviate signs and symptoms of withdrawal, and to avoid relapses. Psychotherapy can help individuals with SUD much better understand their actions and also inspirations, establish greater self-confidence, cope with stress, and also address various other psychiatric problems.

An individual’s recuperation plan is distinct to the individual’s specific requirements and also may include approaches outside of formal therapy. These might consist of:

  • Hospitalization for clinical withdrawal monitoring (cleansing).
  • Restorative areas (extremely managed, drug-free atmospheres) or sober residences.
  • Outpatient medicine monitoring and psychotherapy.
  • Extensive outpatient programs.
  • Residential treatment (“rehab”).
  • Lots of people find mutual-aid groups handy (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, SMART Recovery).
  • Self-help groups that consist of family members (Al-Anon or Nar-Anon Family Groups).

Strick reminder from Brain Health USA to seek a doctor’s advice in addition to using this app and before making any medical decisions.

Read our previous blog post here: https://brainhealthusa.com/10-most-common-obsessive-compulsive-disorder-symptoms/.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2020, December). Help with addiction and substance use disorders.
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020, April 30). Mental health and substance use disorders.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP20-07-01-001, NSDUH Series H-55). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  5. McLellan, A. T. (2017). Substance misuse and substance use disorders: Why do they matter in healthcare?Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association128, 112–130.
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, July). Drugs, brains, and behavior: The science of addiction: Drug misuse and addiction.
  7. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.). What is alcohol use disorder (AUD)?
  8. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2021, April). Understanding alcohol use disorder.
  9. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2019, March 22). Mental health and substance use disorders.
  10. American Psychiatric Association. (2020, December). What is a substance use disorder?
  11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019, October). Treatment options.
  12. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January). Treatment approaches for drug addiction DrugFacts.

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