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Symptoms of Substance Abuse

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines ten symptoms of substance abuse:

  1. Having a persistent wish to stop using the substance and/or continuously trying to reduce or control substance use
  2. Continuing to use the substance despite knowing that a physical or psychological health issue was likely caused or worsened by the substance
  3. Using the substance in larger amounts or over a long time period than originally intended
  4. Exhibiting withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance
  5. Spending a significant amount of time trying to obtain the substance, use it, or recover from using it
  6. Stopping or decreasing social, work-related, or recreational activities due to substance use
  7. Building up a tolerance, where a larger amount of the substance is needed to experience an effect
  8. Having a strong urge to use the substance
  9. Continuing to use even when it causes an inability to fulfill work, school, or home-related responsibilities
  10. Continuing to use the substance even when it causes interpersonal problems or makes them worse

Resources to Learn More

Substance Use Disorders
Provides a definition of substance abuse, and describes several types of substance abuse, including opioid abuse and stimulant abuse.
Organization(s): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration