Diagnosing substance use requires proper evaluation and a review of the individual’s medical condition. During diagnoses, the psychiatrist reviews many factors before concluding a disorder. Note that licensed drug counselors also help in diagnosing substance use in young adults.
For diagnosing substance use in adolescents, most mental health experts use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The first step in diagnosis depends on the person, a friend, or a family member admitting the need for treatment and recovery.
After acknowledging the need for treatment, the mental health professional will ask questions relating to the frequency of use, impairment of daily activities, and pattern of use for social, educational, and occupational areas. According to the DSM-5, substance use is divided into different categories, which include:
- Sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic-related
- Other substance-related
For a young adult to receive a diagnosis for substance use, he or she should display two of the following criteria with a year (12 months):
- More use of the drug due to increased tolerance
- Longer time using a substance for a specific effect
- Withdrawal symptoms when individual stops using
- Physical or psychological conditions due to use
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop using
- Neglected responsibilities resulting from substance use
- Hazardous use of the drug
- Usage of more amounts or extended use
- Social problems connected to using
- Constant cravings
- Quitting some activities due to use
The number of criteria an individual displays determines the severity of substance use and dependence. An individual with four or five of the criteria has a moderate substance use disorder, while individuals with six or more have a severe addiction.