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Substance use disorder (SUD) is the official term for substance addiction. DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Ed.) has listed ten classes of addictive substances, including alcohol and drugs like opioids, cannabis, and cocaine.1, 2
To be diagnosed with substance use disorder, a person must meet at least two of these 11 criteria of DSM-5:2, 3
- Taking a substance in larger quantities or over an extended period
- Repeated attempts to quit substance use but with no success
- Spending so much time using or obtaining the substance or recovering from its effects
- Strong cravings or urge to use drugs or alcohol
- Neglecting work, school, or home obligations due to substance use
- Ongoing substance use, despite it causing relationship problems
- Giving up significant activities due to substance use
- Ongoing substance use despite it leading to harmful situations (like drunk driving)
- Ongoing substance use despite it causing or worsening physical or psychological problems
- Tolerance (taking more substance to get the desired effects)
- Withdrawal symptoms
You can find lots of helpful information about addiction here on Addiction Group. You can check the following resources for more details.
Why Should You Use Addiction Resources?
Addiction websites and resources are valuable when you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse. These resources provide information on various topics about addiction and recovery, including:
- Addiction medicine
- Treatment options
- Therapy and counseling options
- Support groups and aftercare treatment
- Rehab facilities near you
How to Determine the Severity of Substance Abuse?
Depending on how many of the above symptoms are identified, doctors can specify the severity of a substance use disorder (SUD).
- Mild: Two or three symptoms indicate a mild substance use disorder
- Moderate: Four or five symptoms indicate a moderate substance use disorder
- Severe: Six or more symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder
Doctors can also add descriptions to further describe the current state of SUD, such as:
- In early remission
- In sustained remission
- Maintenance therapy
- In a controlled environment
Understanding the severity of SUD can help doctors determine the proper treatment plan for you. Undergoing the appropriate treatment program can significantly improve your chance of recovery.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): The public health agency in the U.S. tasked with improving the lives of people with mental health and substance use disorders. It's under the Department of Health & Human Services.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Advances the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction in the U.S. It’s one of the institutes under the National Institutes of Health (NIH).4
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): A government agency disseminating knowledge about the health effects of alcohol, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of alcohol-related problems. It’s one of the agencies under NIH.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): The leading agency tasked with enforcing controlled substances laws and regulations in the U.S.
- MedlinePlus: An information service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) under the NIH. It contains many high-quality, relevant health information, including substance use disorders.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The U.S. leading health protection agency. Its scope is broad, but some sections contain helpful information about drugs and alcohol. It’s under the Department of Health & Human Services.
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Drug Addiction Resources
- Opioid Response Network: A coalition providing free educational resources and training in preventing, treating, and recovering opioid and stimulant use disorders.
- National Alliance for Recovery Residences: A non-profit organization promoting best practices and resources for recovery housing.
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA): A global organization of recovering drug users in recovery who meet regularly. You can find meeting centers, online support groups, reports, books, and pamphlets on NA’s website.
- Cocaine Anonymous (CA): It’s like NA but specifically for recovering cocaine users. Aside from hosting meetings and groups, CA offers online support and services.
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Alcohol Addiction Resources
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): A fellowship of recovering alcohol users, with local AA groups conducting meetings and other educational resources. It’s similar to other groups that follow the 12-Step methodology, like NA, CA, CMA, Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), and Marijuana Anonymous.
- National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS): A non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating birth defects caused by alcohol use during pregnancy. The NOFAS website contains a directory of specialists, online training, tools, and other resources.
- SoberGrid: An app that provides people access to videos, blogs, local meetings, etc.
- Sober Recovery: An online referral source for people seeking rehab facilities. It has a treatment finder function, an addiction library, a blog, and an online forum.
- Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS): A project of the NIAAA. It provides details of alcohol-related policies in the U.S.
Teen and Youth Addiction Resources
- Family Resource Center: A directory of resources and guides for understanding addiction and addressing a child’s substance abuse. It was created by the Treatment Research Institute (TRI), a non-profit organization.
- Partnership to End Addiction: A non-profit organization that supports families with children struggling with substance use disorders. It has reports, books, guides, news, and partnerships with other organizations.
- National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA): An organization that offers programs, kits, training, and other resources on the effect of alcohol and drug use on children and families.
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Women's Addiction Resources
- Soberistas: A women-only international community for staying sober. It requires a paid membership, where you can access online chats, forums, webinars, and professional support.
- Women for Sobriety: A non-profit group for women with substance use disorders. Its resources include a 24/7 message board, online chat, phone support, a private Facebook group, a blog, and a shop for self-help books.
- She Recovers: An international community of over 325,000 women in or seeking recovery from substance use disorders and other issues. It has online support, a yoga program, a blog, podcasts, and a directory of treatment and wellness partners.
Support Groups and Meetings
- The Daily Pledge: A free, online support community for people affected by alcohol and drug addiction. It was created by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, a non-profit treatment provider offering prevention and recovery solutions for youth and adults.
- SoberCity: A community of people living a sober life. It can help you find support group meetings, events, and other valuable resources in your area.
- Families Anonymous: Supports families of people with a drug or alcohol addiction or related behavioral health conditions.
- Learn 2 Cope: A non-profit support network offering resources, education, and support for families with loved ones addicted to opioids or other drugs.
- Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery: A global community of support groups. It conducts meetings where people help each other resolve issues regarding their addiction. It also offers tools, materials, and other resources you can access through the website.
- Al-Anon: A mutual support group for people whose family members or friends have alcohol use disorder. Alateen is part of the Al-Anon but for teens affected by someone else’s drinking problems.
Resources for Counselors, Social Workers, and Professionals
- Addiction Technology Transfer Assessment Network: An international resource center for addiction treatment and recovery professionals. It contains information on training, events, and guidance for implementing online meetings.
- National Association for Children of Addiction: An organization for social workers and other professionals working with children of families dealing with addiction.
- National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare: Provides training and technical assistance to families affected by child abuse or neglect, substance abuse, and mental health disorders.
- NASW Standards for Social Work Practice with Clients with Substance Use Disorders: A handbook detailing the services provided by social workers to people with substance use disorders. The National Association of Social Workers publishes it.
- A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians: A handbook on interventions, referrals, and treatments. SAMHSA publishes it.
Populations (Lgbtq+, Mental Health Disorders, Seniors, Veterans)
- A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals: A handbook about treatment approaches sensitive to LGBT. SAMHSA publishes it.
- LGBT National Help Center: A non-profit organization that provides support, community connections, and resources to the LGBT population.
- The Trevor Project: A leading organization for suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ young people.
- Mental Health America: A community-based, non-profit organization promoting mental health and helping people with mental illnesses.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Helps people whose loved ones are experiencing a mental health condition.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): The leading research agency on mental disorders in the U.S. It’s one of the agencies under the NIH.
- MentalHealth.gov: Offers one-stop access to mental health information, including facts and treatments. Pieces of information are collated from CDC, MedlinePlus, NIH, NIMH, and SAMHSA.
- National Council on Seniors Drug and Alcohol Rehab: A non-profit organization that aims to help seniors struggling with addiction. It also helps caregivers and families of affected seniors.
- VetChange: A free, confidential, online program that helps veterans manage their drinking problems and PTSD without using alcohol.
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): Offers various support services for substance abuse, including a directory of treatment facilities and a veterans’ crisis line.
Support for Loved Ones
- Findtreatment.gov: A nationwide locator of treatment facilities created by SAMHSA.
- Lighthouse Network: A free hotline to discuss your or your loved one’s struggle with substance abuse or other mental health issues.
- National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers: Hosts a public directory of licensed addiction treatment professionals.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Provides free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. It was launched by SAMHSA and Vibrant Emotional Health in 2005.
- Overdose Prevention Strategy: A page from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. It highlights government activities promoting harm reduction and the harmful effects of substance use.
- National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC): Established by CDC in collaboration with SAMHSA. It provides harm reduction services, like syringe services programs and treatments for substance use disorder.
- Grief Recovery After a Substance Use Passing (GRASP): Offers support to people who have lost a loved one through addiction and overdose.
- The Dinner Party: A platform for grieving people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
- Grief Anonymous: A support organization dedicated to helping people grieving for losing a loved one. It offers meetings and resources, including a Facebook group.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of substance abuse resources. For more information, visit an addiction or mental health professional near you.
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- American Psychiatric Association Publishing. “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.” DSM Library (Psychiatry Online).
- American Psychiatric Association. “Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).” American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013.
- Hasin et al. “DSM-5 criteria for substance use disorders: recommendations and rationale.” The American journal of psychiatry, 2013.
- NIH Organization. National Institutes of Health, 2018.
- Jahan, A., & Burgess, D. "Substance Use Disorder." Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, 2023.
- "SAMHSA’s National Helpline." Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2023.