Addiction The 11 Official Criteria for Addiction/Substance Use Disorder By Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD is a psychologist, professor, and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership and Research at Royal Roads University, Canada. Learn about our editorial process Updated on November 13, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Getty Images What defines a substance use disorder? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is the official text on which diagnoses are based, contains criteria for substance use disorders and other mental health problems. The latest version of DSM, known as DSM-5, has some significant changes to the list of substance use disorders and the criteria that must be met in order to diagnose them. In the last edition of the DSM, DSM-IV, there were two categories: substance abuse and substance dependence. The DSM-5 combines these two categories into one called "substance use disorder." If substance use causes significant problems in someone's life, such as health issues, disability, and/or not meeting responsibilities at work, home, or school, they may have a substance use disorder. Substance Use vs. Substance Abuse: What Are the Differences? Criteria for Substance Use Disorder Substance use disorders are classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how many of the diagnostic criteria a person meets. The 11 DSM-5 criteria for a substance use disorder are: Hazardous use: You have used the substance in ways that are dangerous to yourself and/or others, i.e., overdosed, driven while under the influence, or blacked out.Social or interpersonal problems related to use: Substance use has caused relationship problems or conflicts with others.Neglected major roles to use: You have failed to meet your responsibilities at work, school, or home because of substance use.Withdrawal: When you stop using the substance, you experience withdrawal symptoms.Tolerance: You have built up a tolerance to the substance so that you have to use more to get the same effect.Used larger amounts/longer: You have started to use larger amounts or use the substance for longer amounts of time.Repeated attempts to control use or quit: You've tried to cut back or quit entirely, but haven't been successful.Much time spent using: You spend a lot of your time using the substance.Physical or psychological problems related to use: Your substance use has led to physical health problems, such as liver damage or lung cancer, or psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety.Activities given up to use: You have skipped activities or stopped doing activities you once enjoyed in order to use the substance.Craving: You have experienced cravings for the substance. In order to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder, you must meet two or more of these criteria within a 12-month period. If you meet two or three of the criteria, you have a mild substance use disorder. Four to five is considered moderate, and if you meet six or more criteria, you have a severe substance use disorder. Types of Substance Use Disorders Each substance use disorder is classified as its own disorder. Here are the six most common substance use disorders in the United States: Alcohol use disorderTobacco use disorderCannabis use disorderStimulant use disorderHallucinogen use disorderOpioid use disorder If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. 2 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Hasin DS, O'Brien CP, Auriacombe M, et al. DSM-5 criteria for substance use disorders: Recommendations and rationale. Am J Psychiatry. 2013;170(8):834–851. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12060782 Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders. American Psychiatric Association. 2013. By Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD is a psychologist, professor, and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership and Research at Royal Roads University, Canada. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? 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