A substance use disorder is a medical illness caused by
repeated misuse of a substance or substances.
- Substance use disorders are characterized by clinically significant impairments in health, social function, and impaired control over substance use.
- Substance use disorders range from mild to severe and from temporary to chronic.
- They typically develop gradually over time with repeated misuse, leading to changes in brain circuits governing incentive salience, reward, stress, and executive functions like decision making and self-control.
- Severe substance use disorders are commonly called addictions. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 1 in 12 Americans are currently suffering from substance use disorder.
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