What is Substance Use Disorder (SUD)?

There is a lot of information in the world about substance use disorder, and this can make it difficult to decipher between fact and fiction. But Wayspring is here to set the record straight.

So what is substance use disorder? Commonly referred to as addiction or “drug abuse,” substance use disorder is defined by Cleveland Clinic as a progressive disease that causes people to lose control of the use of a substance despite worsening consequences of that use. There is a wide variety of substances that can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, including alcohol, opioids like heroin or morphine, stimulant drugs like cocaine, prescription medications, nicotine, and others.

How common is substance use disorder? Substance use disorder is quite common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 20 million Americans living with a SUD diagnosis in 2021. The most common diagnosis is for alcohol use disorder, with which more than 14 million people in the United States have been diagnosed.

How is substance use disorder treated? There are a variety of ways that people with substance use disorder can be treated. Treatment often includes a combination of mental health therapy, medication, support groups, or medical detoxification (detox). At Wayspring, we like to help people achieve recovery using a whole-person approach, which not only addresses a person substance use, but also accounts for their medical care, mental health care, and social supports like housing or transportation. We believe each of these components are essential to successful recovery.

To recap, it is important to know the following facts about substance use disorder:

  • Substance use disorder is a chronic illness that affects the brain, not a personal choice or character flaw.
  • Substance use disorder is prevalent throughout the United States, with more than 20 million people living with a related diagnosis.
  • Recovery from substance use disorder is possible and can look different based upon a person’s personal needs and circumstances.

If you or someone you know needs support for physical, mental, or social well-being, Wayspring may be able to help! Use our 5-question member eligibility tool to find if you’re eligible to enroll today!