What Is Substance Use Disorder? - Addiction Treatment Center | Colorado
woman in an alcohol stupor at the table while man wonders what is substance use disorder for his girlfriend

woman in an alcohol stupor at the table while man wonders what is substance use disorder for his girlfriend

A National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2017, stated that about 18.7 million adults in the United States had a substance use disorder. That equates to 1 in 12 adults, which means that everyone likely interacts with someone who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, even if it isn’t apparent.

What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder centers on a person’s inability to control their use of a substance. This substance can be either legal, such as nicotine and prescription medications, or illegal, like marijuana and meth. Substance use disorder is another name for drug addiction. It affects both a person’s behavior and their brain. This can lead them to continue use in spite of the harm the substance is causing.

Learn more about addiction treatment programs in Colorado to treat substance use disorder.

How Does Substance Use Disorder Start?

In addition to learning about what is substance use disorder, you might also be curious about how it starts. There is no single way that substance use disorder starts. Many parents think that their children’s friends and peer pressure are what pushes their child to start experimenting. While this social use of recreational substances in social situations is one way that substance use can begin, it isn’t the only road to drug addiction.

Another way substance use disorder can start is quite innocently by taking medications prescribed to you. This might begin as the result of an accident or injury, for example. Your doctor might provide you with a prescription for a painkiller, such as an opioid. Because opioids are addictive, you could accidentally find yourself addicted to them.

What Are Substance Use Disorder Signs?

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out if a loved one is using drugs or alcohol excessively. The same can be true if you are trying to determine your use of a substance. In some cases, a behavior might be so gradual that it doesn’t make an impression on you until you think back.

When considering if you or a loved one might have a substance use disorder, think about the following issues:

  • Behavioral changes including efforts to hide their whereabouts and conflicts with family members or friends
  • Lack of interest in hygiene and their appearance
  • Physical health concerns such as unexplained weight gain or loss, red eyes, or a lack of motivation or energy
  • Money issues like money missing from your wallet or purse, items that might have disappeared from the home, or questionable requests for money
  • School or work issues such as a sudden lack of interest in either, missing work or school and a reduction in work performance or a drop in grades

Because different types of drugs can cause specific symptoms to differ, keeping the above overall symptoms in mind can help you determine if you or a loved one might have a substance use disorder.

Getting Help For Substance Use Disorder

Just as with any other disease, the earlier you get help for yourself or a loved one who is struggling with substance use disorder, the better. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not too late to make changes and get the help you or your loved one needs.

AspenRidge Recovery Centers is here to meet you wherever you are in your recovery. We understand how difficult taking that first step can be. We are here to support you every step of the way by offering a variety of addiction treatment programs, including:

Contact AspenRidge Recovery Centers today at (855) 281-5588 to learn more about how we can help.

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