How Is Substance Abuse Disorder Diagnosed

Understanding addiction is difficult, but understanding how substance abuse disorder is diagnosed is on another level. The diagnostic process starts with the people closest to the person who is being affected by the substance abuse use disorder. Their loved ones reach out for help on their behalf and addiction professionals can then help an addicted loved one. In other times, the person addicted to a substance reaches the point of no return and asks for more help. Once that person has agreed to get some help, a doctor or an addiction specialist is the right place to turn.

A drug rehab facility often helps with the diagnosis of substance abuse use disorder, but practicing physicians can diagnose this disorder and help with the referral of patients to the right treatment center. It’s another tough thing to do – finding the right rehab and treatment center, but it’s something that can be life changing for those who choose to attend. Your physician will ask you a range of questions about your lifestyle, your mental health, your triggers and more. They will also get an idea of whether you are physically dependent on a particular substance and whether you are also experiencing withdrawal from said substance. From here, the diagnosing physician is going to help you to understand the problem, its severity, the type of required treatment and what the next steps should be. 

The Diagnostic Process For Substance Abuse Disorder

How Is Substance Abuse Disorder Diagnosed

Every substance related disorder is different. Though there are ten unique classes of substance related disorders, some have symptoms that are far more severe than others. There are also individuals who are predisposed to developing an addiction. Paying attention to the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder is important. 

There are a range of psychological, biological and environmental considerations that promote substance abuse. Specifically, there are 11 points of criteria used to clinically diagnose substance use disorder. These include:

  • Wanting to stop but being unable to.
  • Prolonged use with more and more of the substance over time. 
  • Cravings.
  • Spending time obtaining, using and recovering from the substance and its effects.
  • Continuing to use the substance regardless of consequence.
  • Being unable to continue with day to day responsibilities.
  • Giving up social activities in favor of the substance in question.
  • Continuing use despite mental or physical health being affected.
  • Using the substance even if it’s a danger to your health.
  • Gaining a tolerance over time.
  • Experiencing withdrawal.

Patients who are looking for help only need to meet two of the criteria from the above list in the space of 12 months. Two to three of these symptoms is considered to be a mild case, but identifying with more than six of these symptoms is classed as a severe case. The right treatment recommendations are then made and a patient will need to go through a treatment program that meets their needs.

Getting Help

With the help of experts at Louisville Addiction Treatment Center, you can get the help that you need for your substance abuse use disorder.

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