What is Substance Related Disorder?

When an individual starts using alcohol, drugs, or other related substances and getting addicted to it, even after it's affecting the lifestyle adversely, then they are suffering from the substance-related disorder. It often starts with experimental usage and later becomes more frequent.

The risk factor of drug addiction depends on the intake of several drugs and their effectiveness. Drugs like opioids have a higher risk associated, because one may get addicted to it quickly due to its properties. With increasing time, the person will increase the dosage to get high or just to feel good.

The condition gets severe after a specific time, and to overcome it, one will require help from doctors, support groups, therapists, or family!


  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Problem at the workplace and school
  • Unexplained financial distress
  • Mood changes and paranoia
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Changed sleeping pattern
  • Withdrawal symptoms


  • Alcohol Use Disorder: When a person gets addicted to alcohol consumption, and aren't able to cope with any problems without alcohol, then they are suffering from alcohol use disorder
  • Caffeine addiction: Caffeine produces a rise in dopamine levels leading to unbalanced reward circuits in the brain. If using 100 mg of caffeine in a day, it won't be that addictive, but excess usage or physical dependence can cause nausea, muscle pain, depression, severe aches, etc.
  • Cannabis/Marijuana: In this disorder, a person often feels irritated and restless, along with several physical discomforts affecting the usual lifestyle. Marijuana dependence happens when the brain adapts to a large amount of drugs, and they aren't able to stop using it even after it's affecting the aspects of life.
  • Co-Occurring Disorders: When a person is addicted to any substance and simultaneously has a mental disorder, it's called a dual disorder or co-occurring disorder. Sometimes, it's also referred to as multiple disorders at the same time.
  • Cocaine Use Disorder: Amphetamine drugs or cocaine are stimulant drugs that make an individual euphoric, mentally alert, and highly energetic for a while. Overdose of cocaine leads to cardiovascular brain damage, and has many other after-effects as well.
  • Compulsive Gambling Disorder: Compulsive gambling is associated with major mental illnesses like OCD, bipolar disorder, ADHD, etc. When a person gambles compulsively, they get into substance abuse issues leading to problematic behavior or addiction.

Causes of substance-related disorders

There is no exact cause seen behind a person getting into substance-related disorder as it can be genetics or due to some external factors as well. Many people get addicted to substances because of their mental illness, too, like depression or anxiety. A stressful and chaotic environment is also among the common causes of substance-related disorders.

Sometimes if a child grows up seeing their parents using drugs, then they may develop the habit of substance use. The most common types of substance use are marijuana, opiates, stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines, and depressants like alcohol or chloral hydrate.

Certain stages are included in substance use disorder, like, initially, a person may experiment using, and then slowly develop a habit leading to problematic usage or addiction. In the end, it becomes uncontrollable for the user to face their life without drug consumption, and they may become suicidal.


When a person is addicted to any substance, they can either be treated through medication or therapies. A combination of both gives proven results. The psychiatrist, physiotherapist, or drug counselor will assess the patient through a test. During lab tests, you will need to submit samples of blood, urine, so as to monitor the treatment and recovery pace. Below are some effective treatment therapies used by psychologists and therapists to treat substance-use disorder:

  • Group therapy
  • CBT
  • REBT

Self-help tips for avoiding Substance-related Disorder

Each individual will have different symptoms of substance-related disorder, depending on what they are addicted to. But to avoid all of it, it's essential to take help from professionals and close members. The results get more effective when you do specific care from your end. Here are some self-help tips to avoid substance-related disorder up to some extent:

  • Avoid bars and clubs: Bars and clubs often act as triggers to individuals who are already suffering through substance abuse. Start recognizing the risk factor; it might be environmental or physical, and overcome it. Living in a social setting like a bar glorifies substance abuse and has many after-effects during the treatment process.
  • Stay away from groups forcing you to use: Peer pressure is among the biggest reasons behind one using illicit drugs, and it gets difficult to avoid after a certain age. There is a feeling of being left out, and just to fit in, some groups will glorify the usage of drugs. Find a better group that won't pressure you doing drugs and volunteer with the needy. Plan a good excuse, and stay away from tempting solutions.
  • When seeking medical treatment, don't hide anything: Substance use and mental illness go hand in hand, because many people opt for drugs to reduce or ease their pain. If you feel like you are getting addicted, visit a health professional, and be as transparent as you can with your sufferings.
  • Challenge your thoughts: Some people feel that overworking is good, but it's not due to several reasons. Give yourself a good break by challenging your thoughts, and don't make your life more stressful. Usually, people take drugs, when their life seems unbalanced to them, or they are unhappy with the current situation. Set up your priorities and look at the bigger picture!
  • Pick up a hobby: Try reading a good book, or start exercising and make it a hobby. Create art, or learn music, as it will help you to relax and think positively. Moreover, it will relieve you from stress, and your mind gets off from drugs.

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