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Substance use disorder occurs when a person's repeated use of drugs or alcohol interferes with his or her ability to be productive. This disorder can cause problems with mental and physical health. It can affect your ability to have healthy relationships, and it can keep you from being able to meet your responsibilities at work, home, or school. It can also lead to addiction, which is a condition in which the person cannot stop using the substance consistently for a period of time.
Addiction changes the way the brain works. Because of these changes, addiction is a chronic condition. Substance use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Recovery can be a long process. Many people who undergo treatment start using the substance again after stopping (relapse). If you relapse, that does not mean that treatment will not work.
Drug overdose is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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