Substance use disorder (SUD) is diagnosed using a set of criteria established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM-5 outlines specific criteria for each substance, including alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, opioids, and sedatives.
The diagnosis of SUD involves an evaluation of the individual’s pattern of substance use, as well as any associated impairment or distress. The DSM-5 criteria consider factors such as tolerance, withdrawal, continued use despite negative consequences, unsuccessful attempts to quit, and spending a great deal of time obtaining or using the substance.
A diagnosis of SUD can range from mild to severe, depending on the number of criteria met. The severity of the diagnosis can help determine the appropriate level of care and treatment needed to address the disorder.