Substance Use Disorders (SUD)
Substance use disorders

What are substance use disorders?

Substance use disorders (SUD) describe a problematic pathological overuse of one or more substances (legal or illegal), that can range from nicotine and alcohol to cannabis or other recreational drugs, as well as prescription medications (sedatives, sleeping pills, and pain medicines).

What are the symptoms of an addicted person?

Symptoms and behaviors of drug use may include:

  • Confusion.
  • Continuing to use drugs even when health, work, or family are being harmed.
  • Episodes of violence.
  • Hostility when confronted about drug dependence.
  • Making excuses to use drugs.
  • Missing work or school, or a decrease in performance.
  • Need for daily or regular drug use to function.
  • Neglecting to eat.
  • Not caring about physical appearance.
  • No longer taking part in activities because of drug abuse.
  • Secretive behavior to hide drug use.
  • Using drugs even when alone.

Exams and Tests

Drug tests (toxicology screens) on blood and urine samples can show many chemicals and drugs in the body. How sensitive the test is depends on the drug itself, when the drug was taken and the testing laboratory. Blood tests are more likely to find a drug than urine tests, though urine drug screens are done more often.

How is addicted person treated?

Treating addiction starts by recognizing the problem and ignoring such a serious condition can only make it worse.

The substance may either be slowly withdrawn or stopped abruptly. Support for physical and emotional symptoms, as well as staying drug free (abstinence) are also key to treatment.

  • People with drug overdose may need emergency treatment in the hospital. The exact treatment depends on the drug used.
  • Detoxification (detox) is the withdrawal of the substance abruptly in an environment where there is good support. Detoxification can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
  • At times, another drug with a similar action or effect on the body is taken, as the dose is slowly decreased to reduce the side effects and risks of withdrawal. For example, with narcotic addiction, methadone or similar drugs may be used to prevent withdrawal and continued use.

Residential treatment programs monitor and address possible withdrawal symptoms and behaviors. These programs use techniques to get users to recognize their behaviors and learn how not to go back to using (relapse).

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you or a family member is using a substance and wants to stop. Also call if you have been cut off from your drug supply and are at risk of withdrawal. Most employers offer referral services for their employees with substance use problems.

What can you do as a concerned parent/spouse/friend/significant other to offer help to an addicted person?

  • Approach: the affected person and talk about the problem without judgment and confrontation.
  • Learn about the addiction: understand it.
  • Offer your support.
  • Express love, concern, compassion and no sympathy.
  • Understand where the person is and do not expect them to stop immediately.
  • Do not preach or moralize.
  • Do not assume their responsibility.

Does my Insurance Policy cover treatment of addiction people?

No. According to CCHI unified Policy terms and conditions, health insurance policies in Saudi Arabia doesn’t cover the treatment of addicted person.

Please Click Here to access the Unified CCHI Policy Wordings.


"Substance Use Disorder." Substance Use Disorder. N.p., 31 Jan. 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2017. "Substance Use Disorder." Rules. N.p., n.d. Web. Aug. 2016.