Mental Disorders

'I knew I had to change my life. But addiction is a tricky thing. I  think I relapsed within... Three week? And within a month it had ramped right back to where it was before. That's what really freaked me out. That's when I know, either get help or die'
-Marshall Mathers (Eminem), rapper

Introduction

Addiction in any form can prove to be disturbing for one’s mental health. Whether it is addiction in the form of substance abuse (medicines or drugs alike) or in terms of behaviors (addiction to gambling or porn), it is a growing concern in today’s world. Addictive disorders are mind altering and affect an individual psychologically as well as physiologically.[1]

Signs and Symptoms

Following are disorder groupings that contain certain signs and symptoms common to all the substance-related and addictive disorders:

1. Substance use: Involves the misuse of a substance and is the most basic feature. It influences the following areas of life:

  • Cognition- lowered ability to make decisions and remain healthy and safe
  • Behavioral- neglect of duties and problems in relationships alongside impairment in daily functioning
  • Physiological- increased need for higher doses of the substance with withdrawals when the substance is unavailable

2. Substance withdrawal: It involves signs the brain and body show once it becomes used to the substance. Withdrawal involves cravings that follow a lack of substance intake:

  • Cognition- involves changes in mood such as being irritable, anxious or depressed
  • Behavioral- includes altered motor activity such as being agitated, restless or motionless
  • Physiological – changes such as alteration in sleep, appetite etc

3. Substance intoxication: Whether it involves intoxication caused by accident or by choice, it involves the following changes:

  • Cognition- lowered ability to pay attention, memory issues, drowsiness, mood change
  • Behavioral- neglect of duties and problems in relationships alongside impairment in daily functioning
  • Physiological- dry mouth, palpitation, alteration in blood pressure etc.

When an addictive or a substance related disorder receives diagnosis, it is importance to note the element responsible for the disorder.

Types of Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

1) Alcohol-Related Disorders

Under this umbrella term are disorder groupings when the substance of abuse is alcohol. This section includes alcohol use disorder, alcohol intoxication and alcohol withdrawal.

2) Caffeine-Related Disorders

Under this umbrella term are disorder groupings when the substance of abuse is caffeine. This section includes caffeine intoxication and caffeine withdrawal.

3) Cannabis-Related Disorders

Under this umbrella term are disorder groupings when the substance of abuse is cannabis (marijuana). This section includes cannabis use disorder, cannabis intoxication and cannabis withdrawal.

4) Hallucinogen-Related Disorders

Under this umbrella term are disorder groupings when the substance of abuse is a psychedelic drug that produces illusions. Types of these drugs are phencyclidine (PCP) (street name angel dust), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and other hallucinogens.

This section firstly includes phencyclidine use disorder and phencyclidine intoxication. It also includes other hallucinogen use disorder and other hallucinogen intoxication. Lastly, it includes hallucinogen persisting perception disorder that involves the occurrence of illusion even when the intake of hallucinogens ceases.

5) Inhalant-Related Disorders

Under this umbrella term are disorder groupings when the substance of abuse is an inhalant. It can include inhaling solvents, gasoline etc. This section includes inhalant use disorder and inhalant intoxication.

6) Opioid-Related Disorders

Under this umbrella term are disorder groupings when the substance of abuse is opioids. These drugs include heroine, morphine etc. This section includes opioid use disorder, opioid intoxication and opioid withdrawals.

7) Sedative-, Hypnotic- or Anxiolytic- Related Disorders

Although a sedative, hypnotic and anxiolytic have different purposes, the reason they cluster under the same disorder heading is the impact they can have on an individual following substance abuse, intoxication or withdrawal. Under this umbrella term are disorder groupings when the substance of abuse involves a pharmacological substance.

Misuse of the pharmacological drugs such as Xanax, Valium etc. can result in sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic use disorder. It can also result in sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic intoxication, or withdrawal.

8) Stimulant-Related Disorders

Under this umbrella term are disorder groupings when the substance of abuse is a stimulant that can include cocaine, amphetamines (such as Ritalin, Adderall etc.) or even bath salts. Misuse of prescription drugs is common under this category. Accordingly, this section includes stimulant use disorder, stimulant intoxication and stimulant withdrawal.

9) Tobacco-Related Disorders

The high dependency on tobacco makes it one of the most widely addictive drugs around the globe. Being easily available, there are two main disorders associated with it. This section includes tobacco use disorder and tobacco withdrawal.[2]

Although, use of some of the substances mentioned in this section are common in adults, it is important to understand what makes it resemble a disorder. It turns into a disorder when the use of the substance becomes pathological in nature. Not only are substance related disorders a major concern for adults, it is now a growing concern among youngsters also, especially school going children.


References:

[1] Morrison, J. (2014).  DSM-5 made easy: The Clinician’s guide to Diagnosis. New York: Guilford Press.   

[2]American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.


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