Addiction 101

Addiction: Definitions and key concepts

Substance use

The DSM-5 (APA, 2013) describes ten kinds of substances that can be the focus of substance use disorders, including alcohol, cannabis, opioids, stimulants and tobacco. The DSM-5 (APA, 2013) outlines 11 criteria for substance use disorder, which are divided into four categories of substance use-related behaviours (Portico, 2017):

  1. loss of control 
  2. social impairment 
  3. risky use 
  4. substance-related signs (tolerance and withdrawal) 

Substance use disorder is measured on a spectrum from mild to severe. The severity of the disorder is determined by the number of diagnostic criteria that a person meets (Portico, 2017).