The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5), categorizes substance use disorders as follows (27):

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5), substance-related disorders are categorized into 10 classes based on use of the following substances: alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, sedatives, hypnotics and anxiolytics, stimulants, tobacco, and other (or unknown) substances. There are two categories of substance-related disorders: (a) substance use disorders and (b) substance-induced disorders.

A. Substance Use Disorders Criteria:

There are 11 symptoms for each substance class (except for caffeine) that are used to make a substance use disorder diagnosis. The diagnosis is made along a continuum—mild, moderate, or severe—based on the number and severity of the symptoms.

Specify current severity based on the following guidelines:

Mild: Presence of 2 or 3 symptoms
Moderate: Presence of 4 or 5 symptoms
Severe: Presence of 6 or more symptoms

Symptoms include:

  1. Substance is taken in larger amounts or over longer periods than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control substance use.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain substance, use substance, or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use substance.
  5. Recurrent use of the substance is resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, home, or school.
  6. Continued use of substance despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.
  8. Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. Substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
    • A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
    • A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
    (Withdrawal does not apply for every substance.)
    • The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for that substance (see additional criteria in DSM-5).
    • The substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

The information above is only an overview of the criteria used. Consult the DSM-5 before making a diagnosis.

B. Substance-induced Disorders

Substance-induced disorders include intoxication, withdrawal, and other substance/medication-induced disorders. See the DSM-5 manual for a complete description of criteria for each category.

The following conditions may be classified as substance-induced disorders:

Substance-induced disorders


  • Refers to a reversible set of symptoms occurring after the use or exposure to a drug
  • Symptoms may vary based on substance used
  • May occur in those without substance use disorders
  • Symptoms are not attributable to another medical condition or mental disorder


  • Diagnosed based on the behavioral, physical, and cognitive symptoms that occur due to the abrupt reduction or discontinuation of heavy and prolonged substance use
  • Symptoms are not attributable to another medical condition or mental disorder
  • Note, use and discontinuation of some drugs does not result in a withdrawal syndrome

Other substance/medication-induced mental disorders

This category includes:

  • Psychotic disorders
  • Bipolar and related disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sexual dysfunctions
  • Delirium
  • Neurocognitive disorders