You may have wondered if you have a problem. Often, the signs are subtle at first. Perhaps you’re drinking more often, or you have to drink more to feel the same buzz. Perhaps your weekend drinking or drug use has escalated to three or four days now instead.
Substance use disorder (SUD) is the clinical term used in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5 is the handbook clinicians and health care providers use to diagnose SUDs and other psychiatric conditions. According to the DSM-5, SUDs apply to the following 10 drug classes:
- sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics
- phencyclidine (PCP) and related drugs
Diagnostic Criteria for Substance Use Disorders
Therefore, someone with problematic heroin use who meets the DSM’s SUD criteria would be diagnosed with an opioid use disorder, or a heroin use disorder. Likewise, someone with problematic alcohol use who meets the DSM criteria would be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. So, opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder each represent one type of SUD.
The SUD criteria is similar for all drug classes. For example, here is the DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder:
Where to Find Help
If you or a loved one identify with the criteria above, please know you are not alone. Help is available. The first step is to reach out to a substance use counselor or other mental health provider, who can meet with you to conduct an assessment and discuss your options.
Below is a list of recovery resources for families, friends, and people struggling with drugs and alcohol. You can also use the treatment finder tool from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which allows you to search providers by ZIP code.
Drug and Alcohol Support Resources
- Alcoholics Anonymous: Search meetings by location.
- Narcotics Anonymous: Search for local meetings.
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD): 1-800-622-2255. Call this confidential help line to receive referrals and treatment resources near you.
- SMART Recovery (a non-12-step recovery alternative): Search online meetings and times.
- SAMHSA’s Treatment Finder: Search providers by ZIP code or address.
Support / Resources for Family and Friends
- Al-Anon: Support for loved ones battling alcohol dependence.
- Nar-Anon Family Groups: Find support for a loved one’s narcotic addiction.
- Alcohol Addiction Hotline by the American Addiction Centers: 1-855-208-7552
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for free crisis counseling, 24/7.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: Call 1-800-950-6264 to get help for yourself or a loved one with a mental health emergency.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8355 for free, confidential suicide and crisis support.
- SAMHSA’s Helpline: Call 1-800-662-4357 for free, 24/7 confidential support and treatment referrals.