Overview

Substance-use disorder comprises a wide variety of behaviors that include addiction, excessive usage, and dangerous substance-induced behavior. Diagnosis is based on a pattern of behaviors that include an inability to control substance use, impaired functioning at school, interpersonal problems, and risky or hazardous use of the substance. Tolerance, indicated by an increased dose needed to achieve the desired effect, is another criterion.

Symptoms of Substance Abuse Disorder

  • Frequently intoxicated
  • Using substances before or during school
  • Selling drugs
  • Concealing alcohol or drugs in room
  • Skipping school frequently
  • Poor academic performance
  • Abandoning former friends and/or interests
  • Dangerous behavior such as fighting, driving while impaired
  • Strong craving for a specific substance
  • Increased consumption caused by tolerance
  • Taking substance in larger amounts or for longer than intended
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Treatment and Prognosis

The first step is to help your child stop using the substance. In severe cases of physical addiction, detoxification is necessary to help with symptoms of withdrawal. Treatment may occur on an outpatient or inpatient basis depending on the severity of the problem. Psychotherapy, family counseling and self-help groups for kids and families with substance problems are often useful. Children with co-existing psychiatric disorders should be given a treatment plan that addresses those conditions as well

 

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