Substance Use Disorder​​

According to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 48.7 million Americans aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder. Substance use disorders continue to be an important health issue in our country.

 Roberta and Don's Story

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What are substance use disorders?

Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) are treatable, chronic diseases characterized by a pattern of use of a substance or substances leading to impairments in health, social function, and control over substance use. It is a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms indicating that the individual continues using the substance despite harmful consequences. SUDs can range in severity from mild to severe and can affect people of any race, gender, income level, or social class.​​1

A substance use disorder diagnosis can be applied to the following classes of drugs: 
  • alcohol
  • cannabis
  • hallucinogens
  • inhalants 
  • opioids
  • sedatives
  • hypnotics, or anxiolytics
  • stimulants;
  • tobacco (nicotine)
  • other (or unknown) substances

Repeated use of, and dependence on the substance will lead to a pattern of compulsive use, drug tolerance, and if discontinued, withdrawal symptoms.


What is withdrawal?

Many people continue misusing drugs so that they can avoid withdrawal. Withdrawal is the combination of physical and mental effects a person experiences after they stop using or reduce their intake of a substance such as alcohol and prescription or recreational drugs.​​

What does withdrawal feel like?

Withdrawal symptoms and severity will vary depending on the type of drug you were taking, the amount of time you were taking it, and the dosage you were taking. Symptoms include:
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in mood
  • Chills or shivering
  • Congestion
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Shakiness
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

In some instances, more severe symptoms such as hallucinations, seizures, and delirium may also occur. 

While the physical symptoms of withdrawal might last only a few days or a week, the psychological withdrawal, such as depression or dysphoria, can last much longer.2