DSM Addiction Guide

The American Psychiatric Association created the widely used diagnostic reference manual known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM offers criteria for diagnosing substance use disorders, including addiction, in its fifth edition (DSM-5). A summary of the DSM-5’s definition of addiction is given in this blog. 

If you believe you are struggling with substance use, you can contact Myrtle Beach Recovery today. We are an inclusive, safe environment here to help individuals like you get back up on their feet. 

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How Does the DSM Categorize Addiction?

Addiction is categorized as a “Substance Use Disorder” in the DSM-5, which also lists 11 criteria for determining the disorder’s severity. An individual must satisfy at least two or more of the following requirements within a 12-month period to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder:

  1. Substance consumed for a longer time or in higher doses than intended.
  2. Persistent desire or futile attempts to reduce or regulate substance consumption.
  3. Taking a long time to get, use, or recuperate from the substance.
  4. Strong desire or impulse to use the substance; often known as a craving.
  5. Frequent substance abuse that makes it difficult to accomplish important responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  6. Persistent or frequent substance usage notwithstanding social or interpersonal issues that are brought on by or made worse by the substance’s effects.
  7. Due to substance usage, significant social, professional, or recreational activities are decreased or abandoned.
  8. Recurrent substance use in physically risky circumstances.
  9. Using drugs or alcohol while being aware that you have a chronic or recurring health issue that was probably brought on by or made worse by the substance.
  10. Tolerance is characterized by the requirement for higher doses of a substance to produce the desired effects or by experiencing a lessening of those effects with prolonged usage of the same dose.
  11. Using the chemical to treat or prevent withdrawal symptoms or to alleviate the typical withdrawal syndrome for the substance.

The Severity of Substance Abuse

The number of the above criteria met determines the severity of a substance use disorder:

  • A minor substance use disorder is indicated by 2-3 criteria.
  • 4-5 criteria indicate a moderate substance use disorder.
  • A severe substance use disorder is one that meets 6 or more criteria.

The DSM-5 acknowledges that addiction can appear in people who use alcohol, opioids, stimulants, sedatives, cannabis, and other substances. The specific substance involved is identified as a specifier (for example, alcohol use disorder or opioid use disorder), but the criteria apply to all substance use disorders.

Who Uses the DSM?

The DSM-5 offers a standardized framework for evaluating addiction based on predetermined criteria, making it a useful tool for clinicians and researchers in the diagnosis and study of substance use disorders.

Mental health practitioners, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and other licensed clinicians, largely utilize the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) to diagnose and categorize mental disorders, including substance use disorders. The manual is ultimately used to evaluate and diagnose people with drug misuse or addiction difficulties and develop a treatment plan for them.

Get Help Today with Myrtle Beach Recovery 

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance addiction, let Myrtle Beach Recovery help you with our 12-step immersion program. Our experienced staff will help you work through the steps to help you regain control of your life.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you on your journey to sobriety.