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Substance Abuse Symptoms and Diagnosis

Below are the criteria the American Psychiatric Association uses to diagnose substance and alcohol abuse. Addictive substances include Percocet, oxycodone, codeine, Duragesic patch, fentanyl, methadone, morphine, dilaudid, Oxycontin, hydrocodone, Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, heroin, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium, Xanax, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, Adderall, and Ritalin. If you think you or a loved one have a substance or alcohol abuse issue or may be developing one, please contact Blue Willow and seek professional help. Drug and alcohol addiction is a progressive disease and the sooner an individual seeks treatment, the better.

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Substance Use Disorder

To be diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder, individuals must meet certain criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Under DSM–5, to be diagnosed, individuals must meet any two of the below 11 criteria within the same 12-month period. The severity of SUD—mild, moderate, or severe, which is extremely important to diagnose, is based on the number of criteria met:

  • Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you're meant to.
  • Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to.
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.
  • Cravings and urges to use the substance.
  • Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of substance use.
  • Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships.
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.
  • Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger.
  • Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance.
  • Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance).
  • Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance

The presence of at least two of these symptoms indicates a substance use disorder (AUD). The severity of a SUD is graded mild, moderate, or severe:

  • Mild: The presence of 2 to 3 symptoms
  • Moderate: The presence of 4 to 5 symptoms
  • Severe: The presence of 6 or more symptoms

If you or a loved one believes someone may have a SUD whether considered mild or otherwise, or just as important (correction, critically important), thinks one may be close to developing an SUD, it is vitally important to seek professional treatment. SUD is a progressive condition and worsens over time.

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