Substance Use Disorders
What is a Substance Use Disorder?
This diagnosis was specifically designed to allow doctors to simultaneously address both addictive and non-addictive dysfunctional substance use in clients. This replaces the DSM-4, the diagnostic manual previously used by the APA, which treated addiction and clinically significant abuse as separate distinct issues. Under the DSM-5, there are eight (8) types of substance use disorders that doctors can diagnose. Caffeine is also listed as a substance-related disorder under DSM-5, however, it is not designated as a substance use disorder.
  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis (e.g. marijuana)
  • Hallucinogens (e.g. LSD, peyote)
  • Inhalants
  • Opioid (e.g., heroin)
  • Sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics (e.g. Valium, Xanax)
  • Stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine)
  • Tobacco
Most Common Substance Use Disorders in the United States

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) - Excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s risk of developing serious health problems in addition to those issues associated with intoxication behaviors and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol use causes 88,000 deaths a year. The definitions for the different levels of drinking include the following:

  • Moderate Drinking—According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
  • Binge Drinking—SAMHSA defines binge drinking as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that produces blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of greater than 0.08 g/dL. This usually occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men over a 2 hour period.
  • Heavy Drinking—SAMHSA defines heavy drinking as drinking 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.

Tobacco Use Disorders - According to the CDC, more than 480,000 deaths each year are caused by cigarette smoking. Tobacco use and smoking do damage to nearly every organ in the human body, often leading to lung cancer, respiratory disorders, heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses.

  • In 2014, an estimated 66.9 million Americans aged 12 or older were current users of a tobacco product (25.2%). Young adults aged 18 to 25 had the highest rate of current use of a tobacco product (35%), followed by adults aged 26 or older (25.8%), and by youths aged 12 to 17 (7%).