Academic journal article Child Welfare

A Note on Substance Use Disorder Terminology

Academic journal article Child Welfare

A Note on Substance Use Disorder Terminology

Article excerpt

Professionals in the fields of child welfare, treatment for substance use disorders, and the courts that oversee cases of child abuse and neglect may use a range of terminology to refer to concepts related to substance use, physical dependence, and addiction, such as addiction, substance use disorders, substance use, substance abuse, and substance dependence. Additional terms that might be used are alcohol and other drug use, alcohol and other drug abuse, and alcohol and other drug dependence. While there is variation in use of these terms in the field, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), released in 2013, provides guidance on this terminology. The DSM-V no longer uses the terms substance abuse and substance dependence; rather, it refers to substance use disorders, which are defined as mild, moderate, or severe, to indicate the level of severity as determined by the number of diagnostic criteria met by an individual. The term addiction was also omitted from the DSM-V diagnostic terminology. Due to this change in terminology used in the DSM-V, the field is shifting toward the use of the term substance use disorders.

According to the DSM-V, substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems; disability; and/or failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. A diagnosis of substance use disorder is based on evidence of impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria. …

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