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What It Is:

A substance use disorder (SUD) is a treatable medical disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to compulsive use of a legal or illegal drug or medication with continued use despite harmful consequences. SUD is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness with biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors specific to an individual’s life experiences which influence its development and maintenance.  Studies show that about half of individuals who experience a SUD during their lives will also experience a co-occurring mental disorder and vice versa. 

Signs and Symptoms:

  1. Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — daily or even several times a day

  2. Having intense urges for the drug that block out any other thoughts

  3. Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect

  4. Taking larger amounts of the drug over a longer period of time than you intended

  5. Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug

  6. Spending money on the drug, even though you can't afford it

  7. Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use

  8. Continuing to use the drug, even though you know it's causing problems in your life or causing you physical or psychological harm

  9. Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn't do, such as stealing

  10. Driving or doing other risky activities when you're under the influence of the drug

  11. Spending a good deal of time getting the drug, using the drug or recovering from the effects of the drug

  12. Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug

  13. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug

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