Not all people who use a substance will have Substance Use Problems. Substance use problems occur when a person is using alcohol or other drugs at levels that are associated with short-term and long-term harm. For a person to have a substance use disorder, their substance use problems must have had an adverse effect on their life during the past year, in two or more of the following areas:
- The substance is often taken in larger amounts or for a longer period than intended.
- The person wants to cut down use, but finds this difficult.
- A lot of time is spent obtaining the substance, using it or recovering from its effects.
- The person experiences a craving (i.e. a strong urge) to use the substance.
- There is repeated use, which affects the person’s ability to fulfil their work, school or home responsibilities (e.g. repeated absences from work, poor work performances, neglect of children or household).
- The person makes repeated use of the substance despite causing ongoing problems with other people (e.g. arguments, fights).
- Other important activities are neglected because of the substance use.
- There is repeated use in situations where it is physically hazardous (e.g. driving a car or using machinery while affected by a substance).
- The person persists in their continued use despite knowing that they have a mental or physicalhealth problem caused by the substance.
- The person has a tolerance for the substance (i.e. the person needs to use increasing amounts to get the desired effect, or they get less effect with the same amount of the substance).
- There are withdrawal symptoms, or the substance is needed in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to a mental health professional. Our professionals are available to help you 24/7.