Alcohol and Drug abuse is one of the most common problems witnessed today but detection of substance use disorder is often complicated by the patient’s unwillingness or at times, even inability to recognise their problematic use of alcohol or drugs. Many people can drive alcohol or use psychoactive substances occasionally without any negative effects on their physical or emotional well-being. Therefore, acceptance of use pattern transforming into abuse pattern is limited with people in general. Abuse pattern of alcohol and other substances is categorised as a spectrum of harmful intoxication to use to dependence and withdrawal.
What is substance use disorder?
A substance use disorder refers to a patient’s problematic pattern of substance use that results in significant impairment or distress. The problematic pattern is identified based on following signs:
- Craving for drug/alcohol.
- Loss of control over use of alcohol/drug.
- Continued or compulsive use despite negative consequences.
- Tolerance to the effect of alcohol/drug leading to need of increasing its amount to produce the same degree of intoxication.
- The appearance of withdrawal symptoms in the absence of alcohol/drug.
Identifying alcohol/substance use disorders:
Identification of the substance abuse as a medical issue is important. A number of times the patient can be in a denial mode and may not take into consideration the fact that he or she may be addicted to a substance. There is also a possibility that the patient may end up in the hospital for treating the patients instead of consulting psychiatrists for dealing with the problem of addiction. A good clinical history and certain screening tools like CAGE questionnaire can identify target population for timely intervention.
Things to do to identify alcohol or substance use disorder
If you are suffering from any of the following signs and symptoms, it is best that you consult a psychiatrist for your substance abuse immediately:
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of sleep
- Fidgeting and loss of concentration
- Unable to relax without a drink or drug
- Loss of connect with the public due to your addiction