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3 Signs of A Substance Use Disorder

a therapist talks to a patient about signs of a substance use disorder

Substance use disorder (SUD) is the modern term for diagnosable issues with drugs or alcohol. It includes past definitions for substance addiction, as well as substance abuse. More than 46 million Americans have an alcohol- or drug-related SUD. Does that include you or someone you know? You can determine your level of need by consulting a doctor or addiction specialist. But how do you know when you need to consult one of these professionals? Certain signs of a substance use disorder are pretty common. If you notice them, it’s probably time to seek help.

Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Substance Use Disorders

Most people who think about substance problems focus on drug and alcohol addiction. That’s understandable, given the seriousness of this clinical reliance on addictive substances. But that’s not the only problem you or your loved one may experience. You may also develop a dysfunctional pattern of drug or alcohol use known as substance abuse. Addiction is not the source of this pattern. Nevertheless, those affected by it suffer notable impairment.

Substance abuse and addiction were once viewed as totally separate health issues. This situation officially changed in 2013 with the creation of the SUD diagnosis. If you receive this diagnosis, you may:

  • Solely be impacted by addiction symptoms
  • Have symptoms exclusively related to substance abuse
  • Experience any mixture of addiction and substance abuse symptoms

SUDs can vary in the total number of symptoms affecting you. They can also vary in the severity of each symptom, as well as the overall severity of the disorder.

What Are the Common Signs of a Substance Use Disorder?

There are both signs and symptoms of substance use disorder. How is one different from the other? Substance use disorder signs are potentially visible to another person who pays close attention to you. In contrast, the symptoms of substance use disorder don’t produce external markers. Instead, others may be unaware of them unless you talk about them or undergo testing.

Many of the most notable signs of SUDs are triggered by addiction, not substance abuse. They include such things as:

  1. An inability to stop drinking or using drugs or to set limits on your consumption
  2. Changing your lifestyle so you have more time to devote to substance use
  3. Ignoring or denying problems clearly caused by your alcohol or drug intake

You may also notice substance abuse-related signs in yourself or someone else. For example, you may experience unusual performance problems at work or school. In addition, you may repeatedly swim, operate machinery, drive, or do other hazardous things while using drugs or drinking.

What to Do When You Notice Signs of a Problem

Are you or your loved one displaying signs of substance problems? It’s time to seek an SUD assessment from your doctor or an addiction specialist. The results of this assessment can tell you:

  • Whether or not you have a substance use disorder
  • The type of substance causing your disorder
  • How much your SUD impacts you

This kind of information is crucial to determining the best way to help you recover from the problems affecting you.

Contact Northpoint Colorado for More Details on Substance Use Disorder Signs

Have more questions about the potential signs of a substance use disorder? Turn to Northpoint Colorado for more on how you can spot indicators of a problem. We’re also standing by to help if you receive a recommendation for SUD treatment. Our customized resources include both inpatient and outpatient recovery options. We also specialize in mental health treatment for those enrolled in drug or alcohol rehab. Call us today at 888.231.1281 or contact us online to learn more about our full range of services.