According to the DSM-V, a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is defined by the following criteria:
- Consuming more alcohol or other substance than originally planned.
- Worrying about stopping or consistently failed efforts to control one’s use.
- Spending a large amount of time using drugs/alcohol, or doing whatever is needed to obtain them.
- Use of the substance results in failure to “fulfill major role obligations” such as at home, work, or school.
- “Craving” the substance (alcohol or drug).
- Continuing the use of a substance despite health problems caused or worsened by it. This can be in the domain of mental health (psychological problems may include depressed mood, sleep disturbance, anxiety, or “blackouts”) or physical health.
- Continuing the use of a substance despite its having negative effects in relationships with others (for example, using even though it leads to fights or despite people’s objecting to it).
- Repeated use of the substance in a dangerous situation (for example, when having to operate heavy machinery, when driving a car).
- Giving up or reducing activities in a person’s life because of the drug/alcohol use.
- Building up a tolerance to the alcohol or drug. Tolerance is defined by the DSM-5 as “either needing to use noticeably larger amounts over time to get the desired effect or noticing less of an effect over time after repeated use of the same amount.”
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after stopping use. Withdrawal symptoms typically include, according to the DSM-5: “anxiety, irritability, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, hand tremor or seizure in the case of alcohol.”
Mild Substance Use Disorder– person meets 2 of the above criteria out of 11.
Moderate Substance Use Disorder– person meets 3-5 of the above criteria out of 11.
Severe Substance Use Disorder– person meets 6 or more of the above criteria out of 11.