Axon - Logo

Substance Use Disorders

Senior woman reads instructions for medicines.

What are Substance Use Disorders?

Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) are conditions characterized by the harmful or hazardous use of substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. It is a chronic and relapsing condition that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and related systems. Common substances involved in SUDs include alcohol, nicotine, opioids, stimulants, and sedatives.

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Substance Use Disorders is essential for early intervention. Look out for:

  1. Loss of Control: Difficulty in limiting substance use.
  2. Cravings: Intense desires or urges to use substances.
  3. Tolerance: Needing more of the substance to achieve the same effects.
  4. Withdrawal: Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when not using the substance.

Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors contribute to the development of SUDs, including genetic, environmental, and psychological elements. Common risk factors include:

  1. Genetics: Family history of substance use.
  2. Mental Health: Co-occurring mental health disorders.
  3. Trauma: Past traumatic experiences.
  4. Peer Pressure: Influence from friends or social circles.

Effects on Mental Health

Substance Use Disorders can have a profound impact on mental health, exacerbating or triggering conditions such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Understanding these connections is vital for comprehensive treatment.

Understanding Substance Use Disorders is the first step toward recovery. By educating yourself and seeking professional help, you or your loved one can embark on a path toward a healthier, substance-free life. If you have further questions or concerns, consult with a mental health professional for personalized guidance. Remember, you are not alone in this journey.