How Do I Know if I have an Addiction?

As a clinician, I am often asked how addiction is determined. From a clinical standpoint, addiction can be diagnosed using a set of criteria. One of the most common and widely used diagnoses tools in the United States is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

The DSM is developed through the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA recruit the top clinicians and researchers in the USA for development and update the DSM.

Making diagnoses and recommendation for a person to seek help is based on myriad individual issues. This determination is not as simple as a checklist. However, this overview may help a person considering treatment (or his or her loved ones) better understand some of the basics.

The DSM – 5 has 9 types of Substance-Related Disorders:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cannabis
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Opioids
  • Sedative, Hypnotics, or Anxiolytics
  • Stimulants
  • Tobacco

A person meeting two – three criteria indicate the probability of Substance Use Disorder. The level severity is factored into the diagnosis by the number of criteria met. Severity can be between Mild, Moderate, and Severe.

The diagnosis of a Substance Use Disorder is based upon a set of behaviors, as they relate to the substance. The behaviors:

  1. Impaired control
    2. Social impairment
    3. Risky use
    4. Pharmacological indicators

Impaired Control:

  • Using for longer periods of time than intended.
  • Using larger amounts than intended.
  • Having a desire to reduce use, but being unable.
  • Excessive time spent getting substances/using substances/recovering from the use of substances.
  • Intense cravings. 

Social impairment

  • Continued use despite problems with work, school, socially, or family.
  • Continued used despite interpersonal problems.
  • Activities once important are reduced or given up.

Risky Use

  • Continued use despite substances putting a person in physically dangerous situations.
  • Continued use despite causing or worsening physical or psychological problems.

Pharmacological indicators 

  • The need to increase the amount of the substance used to achieve the desired effect.
  • Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not used.

The types of programs we offer include:

Healing Springs Ranch will work together with you to balance your physical and mental states because we understand how important it is for your whole person to be well, not just your addiction. Call us today.