Like other chronic illnesses, addiction tends to
There are 3 levels of severity: mild, moderate, and severe—also known as an addiction.5
Severity level is determined based on 3 categories of symptoms:
- using more of a substance or more often than you intend to;
- wanting to cut down or stop using but not being able to.
2. Symptoms related to how your substance use affects your life, such as:
- neglecting responsibilities and relationships;
- giving up activities you used to care about because of your substance use.
3. Symptoms related to your level of physical dependence on the substance, such as:
- needing more of the substance to get the same effect (also known as tolerance);
- having withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use.
Knowing the severity level of your SUD helps your doctor understand the status of your illness and your risk for serious events (like
As you move through treatment, you should step down to less intensive levels of care. Your doctor should monitor your progress and adjust your plan as needed.7 Remember, more treatment isn’t necessarily better if it’s the wrong kind. This is why understanding severity is so important.