Understanding the 11 Types of Substance-Induced Disorders

woman struggling with substance-induced disorders

Drug and alcohol abuse of any kind can produce altered mental states that resemble mental illness but are actually substance-induced disorders (SID). SIDs are illnesses or conditions that are directly caused by substance abuse. These conditions are different from co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis because rather than a mental health condition co-existing with addiction, the mental illness is directly perpetuated by substance abuse.

11 Different Types of Substance-Induced Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V), expanded upon the fourth edition’s list of 9 SIDs to include states of intoxication and withdrawal. As a result, experts recognize 11 different categories of substance-induced disorders.[1][2] These are:

  • Intoxication – occurs when a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol exhibiting slurred speech, euphoria, impaired thinking, loss of coordination, and lowered inhibitions.
  • Withdrawal – symptoms that occur when someone who is dependent on a substance stops using. These can include depression, insomnia, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and more.
  • Substance-induced depressive disorder – experiencing symptoms of depression, sadness, worthlessness, low energy, difficulty concentrating, isolation, and suicidal thoughts that are provoked by substance abuse and do not occur without substances in the body.
  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder – similar to anxiety disorder, but individuals only experience symptoms of panic, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia while using substances.
  • Substance-induced bipolar disorder – symptoms are similar to that of bipolar disorder, but the manic highs and depressing lows are not present when substances are not being used.
  • Substance-induced psychosis – a condition characterized by auditory and/or visual hallucinations and/or delusions that are occurring as a result of substance abuse and are not normally present without substances in the body.
  • Substance-induced obsessive-compulsive disorder – when using substances, individuals feel compelled to act out on certain unnecessary behaviors or actions in order to soothe their anxiety, such as locking doors multiple times before leaving the house or washing hands two times before leaving the restroom.
  • Substance-induced sexual dysfunction – issues with sexual arousal, desire, orgasm, or pain that are induced by substance abuse and are far worse than the normal side effects of substance abuse on libido.
  • Substance-induced sleep disorder – sleep disturbances ranging from insomnia to hypersomnia that doesn’t normally occur when a substance isn’t being used.
  • Substance-induced delirium – a condition characterized by disorientation, loss of inhibitions, and mental confusion that is provoked directly by drug or alcohol misuse.
  • Substance-induced neuro-cognitive disorders – leads to impaired cognitive function including aphasia, memory loss, and speech issues that are induced by substance abuse.

How SIDs are Diagnosed

Before a person begins showing signs of a SID, they must first become intoxicated. Intoxication is considered the first stage of development of a SID. This is because different types of substances produce different effects and altered mental states. For example, someone who is abusing meth may experience paranoia or anxiety while under the influence, leading to a variety of unpleasant symptoms and behaviors. On the other hand, long-term abuse of certain drugs can produce long term effects. For instance, someone who abuses crack cocaine for many years may end up developing hallucinations or paranoia as a result of their addiction.

In most cases, symptoms of SID wear off within hours, days, and sometimes weeks after an individual stops using a substance, but some effects are more permanent. The key to proper treatment is to make an early diagnosis. The problem with this is that an individual’s symptoms must be clinically significant before they can be diagnosed. This means their symptoms must cause extreme distress and impairment in one’s normal, day-to-day life. Symptoms must have also developed within 30 days after the use of the substance in order for a condition to be considered a substance-induced disorder.

Healthcare professionals will also want to make sure that the condition is substance-induced rather than part of a co-occurring mental health condition. As a result, patients may need to wait and be monitored for weeks or months after stopping the use of a substance to make a proper diagnosis. If you or someone you love may be experiencing a SID or co-occurring mental health condition, it is vital to seek professional addiction treatment as soon as possible.

Substance-Induced Disorders by Substance

In the end, any substance you abuse can invoke a type of SID or other mental health condition that causes severe impairment and distress. However, certain substances are commonly known to induce certain substance-related disorders. Consider the following:

  • Caffeine and cocaine are most associated with substance-induced anxiety
  • Methamphetamines and hallucinogens are commonly associated with substance-induced anxiety, depression, delusions, and hallucinations
  • Alcohol abuse is linked to mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar as well as substance-induced psychosis and sleep disorders.
  • Nicotine and opioids are associated with substance-induced anxiety, irritability, and depression.
  • Benzodiazepines, sedatives, and barbiturates are closely linked to substance-induced anxiety, mania, sleep disorders, and sexual disorders.

Professional Treatment for SIDs and Other Substance-Related Disorders

Experiencing a SID can feel terrifying and hopeless, but they are entirely treatable. The first step is to attend a detox program where your body can become clear of all mood and mind-altering substances. Sometimes, a simple medical detox will eliminate all of your symptoms. In other cases, people will require more intensive treatment. Whatever the case may be, follow-up care is essential as the SID is likely to resurface if individuals fail to stay sober.

Treatment will consist of both psychotherapy and medications. Depending on the type of SID a person has, different medications are used. For example, antipsychotics like Seroquel, Risperdal, or Halcion may be used for substance-induced psychosis, while an antidepressant or SSRI may be used for substance-induced depression. Medications are assigned on a case-by-case basis and are typically monitored in an inpatient treatment program.[3]

Counseling is perhaps the most important part of any drug and alcohol treatment program. Therapy will consist of group, individual, and family sessions and take various different approaches, ranging from behavioral therapy and psychodrama to holistic healing methods and even recreational therapy. The goal of a comprehensive treatment program as such is to treat the individual as a “whole person,” taking into consideration their physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs.

If you or someone you know may have a substance-induced disorder, our addiction specialists at PAX Memphis can help you detox, stabilize, and get healthy again. Don’t suffer another minute – call now to get started on your recovery.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64178/
  2. https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/mental-health-disorders/substance-related-disorders/substance-induced-disorders
  3. https://www.aoaam.org/resources/

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

About

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.