Diagnosis of Substance Use Disorders

The diagnosis of your substance use disorder will not just be dependent upon trying to determine the physical manifestations of your condition. Instead, addiction treatment professionals will use several behavioral and physical criteria to try and determine if you are addicted and - if yes - the severity of your condition. These criteria include but are not always limited to:

  • Developing physical tolerance to the pleasurable and desirable effects of your favorite substances of abuse
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop abusing your favorite drugs or drinking alcohol
  • Finding that you are no longer able to stop your substance use
  • Finding that you have been using drugs compulsively even in situations where you realize that this behavior causes harmful consequences and adverse effects
  • Inability to meet your obligations at work, home, and school due to your ongoing drug taking and alcohol consumption
  • Spending a great deal of your time, energy, and other resources trying to obtain, use, and recover from using drugs

You do not have to meet all these criteria for you to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder. For instance, abusing certain drugs might not cause withdrawal symptoms or physical tolerance.

What Are the Different Treatment Methods for Addiction?


After your diagnosis, you will normally have to undergo a medically managed detoxification process. Also known as detox, the goal of detoxification is to clear all the substances that you abuse from your body. This ensures that any withdrawal reactions that might arise will be properly managed in a clinical setting.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Also known as residential addiction rehabilitation, inpatient treatment is the most preferred way to start on your journey to full recovery after struggling with a substance use disorder for a long time. This is particularly true if you have a severe addiction, if you don't have any solid and loving support system back at home, and if you have received a dual diagnosis meaning that you have mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and depression over and above your substance use disorder.

Some of the most common types of facilities that might provide you with the therapeutic environment improving your chances of success at achieving full sobriety include:

  • Long Term Residential Treatment
  • Short Term Residential Treatment
  • Therapeutic Communities
  • Recovery Housing

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

According to NIDA - the National Institute on Drug Abuse - if a drug treatment program lasts for fewer than 90 days, it might end up displaying limited and unsuccessful effectiveness. Instead, it recommended that you check into an outpatient program that will allow you to continue seeking rehabilitation over the long term.


  • Biofeedback Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Holistic Therapy
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
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