A substance use disorder (SUD) is present when alcohol or drug use has a negative impact on your life. Perhaps you’ve developed health problems or started to have trouble at home or work. However, there’s more to SUD than just a definition. Learning about the causes and how doctors diagnose a SUD might help you recognize that you need help.
Causes of Substances Use Disorder
There isn’t one exact cause of SUD. In fact, multiple factors can contribute, and they’re often different for different people. The substance that you use is one factor, though. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) from the American Psychiatric Association lists eight substance types. These include alcohol, cannabis, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, sedatives, stimulants, and tobacco.
Having a mental health issue can contribute to the development of a SUD. Some examples of common mental illnesses that lead to SUD include anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. If you grew up seeing your parents or other loved ones use drugs, you have a higher risk too. Other contributing factors include having a chaotic lifestyle as well as genetics.
SUD Develops in Stages
You don’t just develop a substance use disorder overnight. It develops over time and in four stages.
Experimental use is the first phase, and it typically involves using for recreational purposes. You use drugs or drink alcohol to fit in with peers or colleagues. However, you don’t do it often.
In the second stage, you use on a regular basis to mask negative emotions or relax. You start to miss work and isolate yourself from loved ones. In addition, you notice that your tolerance to the drugs increases, requiring you to take higher doses. You may even start to worry about losing your drug source.
Your drug use becomes a problem and risky in the third phase. You stop caring about work, lose motivation and think about drugs more than anything else. Your behavior changes in obvious ways such as becoming secretive or experiencing severe personality changes. You could start using more intense drugs and develop legal problems as well.
Addiction develops in the fourth stage of substance use disorder. At this point, you can’t function normally without drugs, and your physical health declines. You deny that you have a problem but have lost control over your drug use. You likely have worse legal and financial problems and destroyed relationships with loved ones.
Requirements for SUD Diagnoses
Doctors use a set of behaviors in the DSM to diagnose substance use disorder. These fall into the categories of impaired control, social impairment, risky use and medical indicators. The DSM lists 11 symptoms, and having two of them within a 12-month period suggests that you have a SUD. Some examples include:
- Using more drugs or using them longer than you intend
- Wanting to stop but being unable to
- Continuing drugs use despite the negative impact on your life
- Experiencing tolerance or withdrawal
- Repeatedly using drugs in dangerous situations
- Losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy
SUDs tend to be worse when more of the above symptoms are present at a time. If you have two or three of them, a doctor can diagnose you with a mild SUD. Having four or five symptoms means that you have a moderate disorder. The presence of six symptoms or more indicates that you have a severe disorder.
Go to The Dunes for Quality Substance Use Disorder Treatment
If you want help for a substance use disorder, consider The Dunes in East Hampton, NY for treatment. We operate a luxury rehab center that provides treatment for Adderall, alcohol, benzo and opiate use disorders. Our estate offers shared and private living quarters for residents. Alongside residential inpatient treatment, our other addiction treatment programs include:
- Intervention services
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Aftercare support
As part of your program, The Dunes will tailor a treatment plan according to your unique needs. We use a combination of clinical and holistic services. Some examples include addiction education, kayaking, physical fitness, Reiki healing, relapse prevention and writing workshops.
Don’t hesitate to get treatment for your SUD any longer. Learn how to live without drugs at The Dunes. Reach our admissions team at 877-818-5539 for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.