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Formerly called "drug abuse" and "drug addiction," drug use disorder, also called "substance use" or "chemical use disorder," is an illness characterized by a destructive pattern of using a substance that leads to significant problems or distress, including tolerance to or withdrawal from the substance, as well as other problems that use of the substance can cause for the sufferer, either socially or in terms of their work or school performance. The effects of drug use disorders on society are substantial. The economic cost, including everything from lost wages to medical, legal and mental-health implications, is estimated to be about $215 billion. The cultivation of marijuana and production of synthetic drugs like methamphetamine has negative impact on soil and water supplies. Drug law infractions make up the most common reason for arrest in the United States.
Teens are increasingly engaging in prescription drug abuse, particularly narcotics (which are prescribed to relieve severe pain), and stimulant medications, (which treat conditions like attention-deficit disorder and narcolepsy.)
The term "dual diagnosis" refers to the presence of both a drug use disorder and a serious mental-health problem in a person. Substance use disorders, unfortunately, occur quite commonly in people who also have severe mental illness. Individuals with dual diagnosis are also at higher risk of being noncompliant with treatment.
What are warning signs that you or a loved one may have a drug use disorder?
While specific symptoms that are used to diagnose drug use disorders are described below, warning signs that you or a loved one suffer from the condition include the following:
Where can people get more information and help for drug use disorders?