Defining Substance Use Disorder

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Defining Substance Use Disorder

“Substance use disorder” is a term that professionals use to diagnose drug or alcohol addiction. The American Psychiatric Association coined this phrase in 2013 to clearly describe and define addiction. Today, physicians in the United States use this term to indicate that an individual patient meets four clear signs of addiction.

Through the clear rules and use of these three words, doctors and insurance companies are able to understand the patient’s problem with clarity. This helps patients get the drug addiction treatment they need, often supported by their insurance company.

What Are the Types and Behaviors of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)?

Under the term SUD, there are eight kinds of addictions that a doctor may diagnose. Those eight types of SUD are:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Opioids
  • Sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics
  • Stimulants
  • Tobacco

For these eight types of substances that may be part of a patient’s SUD, diagnosis also comes from a set of 11 behaviors. These 11 behaviors fall into four groups.

The four groups of SUD behaviors are:

  • Impaired control, meaning you use the substance for longer than you want to or in greater amounts than you intend to.
  • Social impairment, leading to problems at home, work, school or in personal obligations.
  • Risky use, such as using alcohol or drugs while driving, around children or even knowing it’s hurting your health.
  • Tolerance and withdrawal, meaning you keep increasing the amount you use to gain the same effects and you go into withdrawal if you stop using.

Causes of SUD

No one knows exactly why people develop addiction or SUD. There are many factors that may be partially to blame, such as genes, the drug’s effects, peer pressure, mental illness or stress. Many people with a SUD also have a mental illness like depression, ADD, PTSD or anxiety. Low self-esteem and a high-stress lifestyle may also be to blame.

Doctors now know that family patterns lead to addiction. Children with parents who use alcohol or drugs often develop a SUD in their own lives.

Drug Treatment Programs for Substance Use Disorder

When a doctor or other health professional tells an individual that he or she has a SUD, it’s important for that individual to seek help right away. Addiction only gets worse over time and patients need treatment to gain lasting recovery.

1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida provides drug treatment programs for patients with SUD. Patients looking for help from specialized dual diagnosis treatment centers, to treat both a SUD and mental illness like depression, can get that help at 1st Step Behavioral Health.

If you or someone you love are suffering from a SUD and are tired of addiction taking all of the happiness and hope from your life, it’s time to get the help you need. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 for more information about available programs. Take this first step now and 1st Step Behavioral Health will help you take the rest.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.