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Substance Abuse Checklist: How Severe Is Your Addiction?

Concerned about your substance abuse addiction?  Of course there’s bad news about going into opioid addiction treatment, and so we’ll talk about that first. The bad news is that going into treatment takes some real soul-searching and there’s no doubt that it’s a gut-wrenching decision. Sticking with a recovery regimen can be quite challenging, but if you are up to the challenge, then good for you.

That brings us to the good news: Changes in opiate treatment are taking place all the time. The circle of professionals who accept the concepts of medication-assisted treatment grows wider every day. More and more often, according to Jane E. Brody’s article in The New York Times, treatment protocols include behavioral guidelines and psychological insights that render it ever more possible for the addict to achieve sobriety.

Some of the most recent changes involve updated criteria for substance use disorders identified in the manual used by treatment professionals everywhere, called the DSM-5. Possibly the biggest change is the recognition of craving or a strong desire or urge to use a substance. Previously those insurmountable cravings were overshadowed by relative issues such as recurrent legal problems. While it’s undeniable that many addicts have legal problems, it’s more important to focus on ways to overcome triggers, cravings, and urges.

There are 11 criteria denoting substance use disorder. If you suffer from 2 or 3 of them, you are considered to have a mild disorder; 4-5 criteria, a moderate disorder; and 6 or more, a severe disorder.

  1. Using more drugs than you meant to or for a longer period of time.
  2. Telling yourself you will cut down or stop but failing to do so.
  3. Investing a lot of your time in obtaining, using, and recovering from your drug of choice.
  4. Cravings and urges to use drugs.
  5. Failure to function at home, school, or work because of drug use.
  6. Continued use in the face of disrupted personal relationships.
  7. Putting drug use ahead of important social, occupational, or recreational activities.
  8. Repeated use of drugs, despite recognizing the dangers they pose.
  9. Continued use despite your knowledge of physical or psychological problems that are worsened with drug use.
  10. Developing tolerance to your drug of choice.
  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms that are relieved by using again.

How many criteria fit you? We’ll take a look, next, at the new kinds of opioid addiction treatment programs that may fit your specific needs.

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