Do I have a problem? by Kendall Small, Licensed Addictions Counselor

The current Coronavirus situation has triggered stress and anxiety in many of us and with that the need to self sooth. Some are wondering if they are going to need weight watchers or AA or both at the end of this pandemic. But joking aside what are the indicators that you may have a problem that needs addressing? The Diagnostic Criteria for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) asks the following questions:

  1. Is the substance being taken in larger amounts and/or over a longer period of time than intended?
  2. Have there been attempts or unsuccessful efforts made to cut down or control substance use?
  3. Is there a significant amount of time spent in activities to obtain the substance, use the substance, and/or recovering from the effects of the substance?
  4. Are you craving or having a strong desire to use substances?
  5. Are you continuing to use substances resulting in a failure to fulfill major roles/expectations in school, work, or at home?
  6. Are you continuing substance use despite persistent or reoccurring social and/or personal problems?
  7. Have important activities been given up or reduced because of substance use?
  8. Are you using substances even when it is physically hazardous?
  9. Is your substance use is continued despite having physical or psychological issues as a result of substance use?
  10. Do you experience either increased or decreased tolerance for substance use?
  11. Have you experienced either withdrawal symptoms and/or continue to use substances to avoid withdrawal symptoms?


If you answered yes to 2-3 questions you are experiencing mild SUD, 4-5 is moderate and 6+ equates to a severe disorder.

A critical thing to keep in mind is that substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use a drug or medication. When you’re addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.

If you are struggling with addictions, it’s important that you seek help.  Licensed Addictions Counselor’s offer individual, group and family therapy.  There are daily AA meetings in most towns and parenting classes like Nurturing Parenting that are specifically designed for parents struggling with substance use.

The bravest thing you can do is to ask for help.  Many people struggling with addictions feel guilt, loneliness and hopelessness. You are not alone, so make that first step today towards the start of your journey to recovery.


This information is not meant to be used as a diagnostic tool.  If you are concerned about a potential use disorder please seek professional assistance for diagnosis and treatment.