Addiction or Substance Use Disorder

What is substance use disorder or addiction?

Substance use disorder (SUD) is complex a condition in which there is continued misuse of a substance despite harmful consequences. People with SUD have an intense focus on misusing certain substance(s) such as alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs (marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin), to the point where the person’s ability to function in day to day life becomes impaired. Those with an SUD keep misusing the substance even when they know it is causing problems or will cause problems. The most severe SUDs are sometimes called addictions.

What does substance misuse or addiction look like?

Drug misuse symptoms or behaviors include, among others:

  • Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly 
  • Having intense urges for the drug 
  • Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
  • Taking larger amounts of the drug over a longer period of time than you intended
  • Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug (in multiple places)
  • Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
  • Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use
  • Continuing to use the drug, even though you know it’s causing problems in your life or causing you physical or psychological harm
  • Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as lying or stealing
  • Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug
  • Spending a good deal of time getting the drug, using the drug or recovering from the effects of the drug
  • Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
  • Experiencing physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug

How does the DSM define Substance Use Disorder?

*Please note that this is intended for educational purposes only. For a diagnosis of SUD, you must have a complete history & evaluation completed by a behavioral health specialist.*

Substance use disorders span a wide variety of problems arising from substance use, and cover 11 different criteria (based on the DSM-5):

  1. Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to.
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to.
  3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.
  4. Cravings and urges to use the substance.
  5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of substance use.
  6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships.
  7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.
  8. Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger.
  9. 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.
  10. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance).
  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.

How is Substance misuse or an SUD treated? 

In most cases, SUD is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and medication. Certain modalities like trauma informed modalities (ART, EMDR, Somatic therapies) in conjunction with other therapies that target impulses/thought patterns like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) are often integrated into a treatment plan. What works best can depend on the person and their family system. Good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups, family & relational work, and making changes, if needed, along the way.

When should I call your office? 

If you or your loved ones have concerns about SUD or addiction, you can work with a specialist. At Soma Therapy, we can help! Call 316-201-6047 or fill out our contact form to get help & learn more about SUD today. We also often provide referrals in-town if we cannot connect you with the right resources within Soma Therapy. 

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