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Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is a medical condition in which the use of one or more substances leads to a significant impairment or distress. The effects of substance use disorder manifest in mental, physical, and behavioral symptoms that cause serious, and often deadly problems in a one’s life. Substance use disorder includes a variety of unhealthy behaviors including addiction, excessive substance usage, and dangerous or reckless substance induced behavior. Problems at home, work, or school are almost always a sign that substance use disorder has become a problem for someone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) substance use disorder is “evidence of impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria”

Substance use disorders affect everyone across the board. There are documented cases of men, women, young, old, rich and poor–all being affected by substance use disorder. Genetics have been found to play a role in addiction, however, environmental factors play a large role as well. However, there is not one single factor that is the cause of addiction. It is a combination of environmental and genetic influences.

Signs of a Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder affects physical and mental health, as well as behaviors.

Here are some of the most common signs of substance use disorder:

Physical Signs:

  • Sudden or rapid weight loss
  • Insomnia, laziness, inability to sleep
  • Loss of appetite or change in eating habits
  • Trembling/shaking hands
  • Strange body odor
  • Extreme hyperactivity
  • More talkative than usual
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Needle marks and/or abscesses
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Excessive scratching
  • Poor hygiene
  • Lack of physical fitness

Emotional Signs:

  • Irritability
  • Overly defensive
  • Poor stress management
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Minimizing negative consequences
  • Blaming others
  • Confusion
  • Loss of reality
  • Excessive anger

Behavioral Signs:

  • Poor work/school performance
  • Sudden changes in attitude
  • Oversensitivity to normal events
  • Forgetfulness
  • Paranoia
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Changes in friends
  • Legal problems
  • Isolating
  • Financial problems

The DSM-5 guidelines for diagnosing substance use disorder require that an individual have significant impairment or distress from their drug use. They must also have experienced two of the symptoms below in a given year:

  1. Using more of a substance than planned, or using a substance for a longer interval than desired

  2. Inability to cut down despite desire to do so

  3. Spending substantial amount of the day obtaining, using, or recovering from substance use

  4. Cravings or intense urges to use

  5. Repeated usage causes or contributes to an inability to meet important social, or professional obligations

  6. Persistent usage despite user’s knowledge that it is causing frequent problems at work, school, or home

7. Giving up or cutting back on important social, professional, or leisure activities because of use

8. Using in physically hazardous situations, or usage causing physical or mental harm

9. Persistent use despite the user’s awareness that the substance is causing or at least worsening a physical or mental problem

10. Tolerance: needing to use increasing amounts of a substance to obtain its desired effects

11. Withdrawal: characteristic group of physical effects or symptoms that emerge as amount of substance in the body decreases

*If you have experienced two or more of the above symptoms, you may have a substance use disorder and should contact us immediately.

Reach Out

If any of these questions applied to you, or you are unsure if you have a substance use disorder, please contact Royal Life Centers right away. Our caring addiction professionals are available around the clock to answer any questions and assist you. Please don’t hesitate, call us now. (877)-RECOVERY or (877)-732-6837. Because We Care.

Our team of addiction specialists make themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Because We Care.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out” 

– Robert Collier

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