Take a look at your substance use, do you have a problem?

The following criteria are used to determine if there is a Substance Use Disorder; a problematic pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. I want you to think about what substance you would call “your substance of your choice”. This may be alcohol, Meth, pills, Heroin, a mixture of several substances, or whatever. I challenge you to take a serious and HONEST look at your substance use by asking yourself the following questions.

  1. Do you find yourself using a substance of choice for longer time periods than you intended, consuming more than you intend to, or spending more money than you intend on spending?
  2. Do you have a persistent desire or maybe unsuccessful efforts cutting down or controlling your substance use?
  3. Do you spend a great deal of time trying to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of your substance of choice? This may involve being hung over.
  4. Do you experience cravings, a strong desire, or the urge to use your substance of choice?
  5. Do you continue to use substances even though it causes you to have problems at work, school, or home?
  6. Do you continue to use despite having social or interpersonal problems caused or made worse by using?
  7. Have you given up social, occupational, or recreational activities that were important to you because of your use?
  8. Do you use substances in situations where it is physically dangerous? This includes driving, or using in situations where bring impaired would be hazardous.
  9. Do you continue to use despite knowing that there are physical or psychological problems that are caused or made worse by continuing to use?
  10. Do you need to use more of a substance to get the effect you want? Or if you continued to use at the same rate, do you would feel less of an effect?
  11. Do you have withdrawals when you do not use? Do you continue to use more so you do not feel the withdrawal? What are your withdrawals?       

NOTE: It is not just how many times that you answered yes, but also what feelings you experienced while you were answering the above questions that is important.

Do you want to stop or reduce your current substance use? Do you find that using a substance as an escape is the only way you are able to cope with your problems? Is your substance use is causing a problem in your life? If you answered “yes” to one or all of those 3 questions, then it may be time to make a change. Ask yourself do I want to make a change in what and how I use? 

There are many things that you can do; for more information, please call someone for a comprehensive, in-depth assessment, and decide on treatment options that help you with your goals.

You don’t have to do this on your own, there is help available.

Author: Steve D.

Steve Daggett, SUDP(CDP), ADC-2, USN-Ret Sunrise Services, Inc. Substance Use Disorder Supervisor, Island County

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