Substance Induced Disorders: Causes and Treatment

Learn about substance induced disorders, substances that are related to the development of these disorders, and treatment options.

Table of Contents

Understanding Substance Induced Disorders

Substance induced disorders are secondary disorders that occur as a result of prolonged substance abuse. Substance induced disorders include disorders related to intoxication, withdrawal, and addiction. The causes for these disorders can vary and will look different from person to person. Medication for substance induced disorders is often necessary.

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What’s the Difference Between Substance Induced Disorder and Addiction?

Substance induced disorders

While both addiction and substance induced disorders are substance related disorders, they are different in many ways. Substance induced disorders are secondary disorders caused as a consequence of long-term substance abuse. Substance induced disorders include addiction and intoxication but can also include mental health and physical disorders of the body. Not all substance related disorders are the same, as different types of substance addictions have different presentations for substance induced disorders.

Addiction is often not a secondary disorder and can occur by itself. Many substance induced disorders are secondary to addiction specifically, such as anxiety being a potential substance induced disorder due to alcoholism.

Different Types of Substance Induced Disorders

Alcohol and drug abuse has the potential to induce substance related disorders. These disorders can be severe and cause permanent changes to an individual’s health. Substance induced disorders can be related to intoxication, withdrawal or general mental health. Opioids, marijuana, nicotine, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens and alcohol are all substance types that can lead to drug induced disorders. 1

Opioid Induced Disorders

Opiates affect many of the body’s systems and can cause lasting damage. Outside of opioid addiction, opiate use can lead to opiate induced bowel dysfunction, causing problems with digestion and eliminating waste. 2
The most common symptom of opiate induced bowel dysfunction is constipation, cramps, spasms, and bloating. Opiate use can also lead to the development of psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, and can also cause disturbances to the sleep-wake cycle and cause long term insomnia. 3

Marijuana Induced Disorder

Marijuana use can lead to physical dependence as well as psychosis. Marijuana use has been linked with the development of substance induced disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. 4

Nicotine Induced Disorder

Nicotine has disastrous effects on health and is linked with the development of a number of health complications and substance induced disorders. Nicotine use has been linked to emphysema, cancer, chronic bronchitis, fertility issues, oral diseases, and an overall weakened immune system. 5

Stimulant Induced Disorder

Stimulant induced disorders usually are related to stimulant intoxication and withdrawal. Stimulant induced disorder symptoms usually include changes to mood and thinking patterns. Prolonged stimulant use can induce psychotic disorders that may take time to resolve. There is also some evidence that stimulant use can lead to movement disorders such as Parkinson’s later in life. 6

Sedative Induced Disorder

In addition to intoxication and addiction, sedative induced disorders affect mood, memory, and can lead to dementia. 7

Hallucinogen Induced Disorder

Hallucinogens have the potential to induce a number of psychiatric disorders. These can include psychotic disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety, and bipolar disorders, as well as delirium disorders. Some individuals may experience hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, where they have persistent flashbacks to their experience while on hallucinogens. 8

Alcohol Induced Disorder

The most common alcohol induced disorder is addiction and alcoholism. Alcohol affects almost all of the body’s systems. The list of substance abuse induced disorders related to alcohol includes gastritis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, heart issues, and impaired sexual functioning. Alcohol use can also lead to the development of anxiety and depression. 9

"Am I an Addict?" Quiz

What Causes Substance Induced Disorders?

There is no single cause for substance induced disorders or addiction. Some of these causes can include genetics, stress, the type of substance, family history, and pre-existing mental health conditions. 10


Studies show that up to half of an individual’s risk for developing addiction and substance induced disorders can be attributed to genetics. Additionally, substance use can cause specific genes related to the development of certain diseases to “turn on.”

Personality Traits

Certain individuals are more likely to gravitate towards drug use and are thus more likely to develop a substance induced disorder. This includes individuals who participate in high-risk behavior or have an addictive personality.


Stress is a major contributor to the development of substance use disorder and substance induced disorders. Many individuals will use substances to cope with the effects of stress. Additionally, stress weakens the immune system and is harmful to the body and can lead to the development of other conditions.

The Substance’s Action

The type of substance being used plays a role in the development of substance induced disorders. Not all drugs are immediately or physically addictive. Drugs that are physically addictive lead to withdrawal symptoms and are more likely to have substance induced disorder complications.

Family History of Use

Family history, much like genetics, plays a major role in the development of substance induced disorders. Individuals who have close family members with addictions are more likely to develop addictions themselves due to a myriad of reasons.

Peer Pressure

Another substance induced disorder risk factor in the development of substance induced disorders is peer pressure. Peer pressure can cause individuals to experiment with drugs that they usually wouldn’t, or take larger doses to fit in.

Mental Health Conditions

Underlying mental health conditions are a major risk factor for the development of addiction and substance use disorder. Individuals may use illicit substances as a way to treat underlying issues. However, this tends to make things worse as most substances increase the severity of mental health conditions.

The Signs and Symptoms of Substance Induced Disorder and Addiction

Addiction and substance induced disorders can be difficult to spot. Although types of substance induced disorders may vary, the signs of a drug induced disorder are similar.
Knowing the symptoms of substance induced disorders can help you determine if you or a loved one are struggling with a substance induced disorder or addiction, and can be helpful in getting a substance abuse diagnosis. Diagnostic criteria for substance induced disorders include:

Continued Use Despite Negative Effects

Continued use, even though it may negatively affect health and relationships, is a common characteristic of a substance induced disorder. Individuals suffering from substance use disorder and substance induced disorders may feel powerless to quit. These individuals may continue to use even though they are aware of how it affects their health and relationships.


Another sign of substance induced disorders is increased cravings for the substance or behavior. Individuals may have intrusive thoughts surrounding cravings that can make it difficult to focus on anything else. Cravings specifically are a diagnostic criterion for substance induced disorder.

Regular Overconsumption

Individuals who use substances or who suffer from addiction may regularly over consume illicit substances. Over time, tolerance builds, and individuals need more of the substance to achieve the same high. This can be dangerous as it can lead to overdose.

Worrying About Overuse

Personal concern surrounding overuse is another sign of addiction and substance induced disorders. Individuals may feel like they have no control over how much they use or how often.

Using in Unsafe Situations

Often individuals who suffer from addiction may put themselves in danger and use certain drugs in situations that may not be safe.

Giving Up Previously Enjoyed Activities

As individuals develop addiction, they begin to prioritize drug use over other activities that they previously enjoyed. This is because although these activities may have been pleasurable in the past, they can’t compete with the pleasure of getting high.

Spending Time Using or Trying to Use

Drug addiction and substance induced disorders steal time from individuals. Individuals may spend large amounts of their time either trying to find or use drugs.

Neglecting Responsibilities

Home, work, or school life tends to suffer when an individual is struggling with addiction. These responsibilities take a back seat to drug use as addiction progresses. Individuals may have problems in the home, or trouble holding down a job due to their use.

Building a Tolerance

Building tolerance is a major part of the substance abuse diagnosis. As individuals use, they may find that they need more of the substance to feel the same high. This is called building a tolerance, as the body no longer responds to lower doses.

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

Another symptom of substance induced disorders is withdrawal symptoms when an individual is trying to quit. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on a number of factors. Additionally, for some substance types such as opiates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol, withdrawal can have fatal consequences.

Substance Induced Disorder Treatment Options

Substance induced disorders
Substance induced disorders can be difficult to manage on your own, but seeking treatment is crucial for recovery. There are many levels of care for substance induced disorders, including drug detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, and various types of therapies.

Drug Detox

Drug detox is often the first step in addressing addiction and substance induced disorders. Detox services work to manage withdrawal symptoms while providing a supportive and safe environment for detox and withdrawal. For severe substance induced disorders, medical drug detox can be the safest option.

Inpatient Rehab

Treatment for addiction and substance induced disorders extends beyond detox. Inpatient rehab is often the next step following detox, and it consists of a longer stay at a rehab facility, often lasting anywhere from one to three months. During inpatient rehab, any underlying mental health conditions are treated, and individuals receive therapy to address their addictions.

Outpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is not for everyone. Individuals with less severe substance induced disorders may benefit from an intensive outpatient program. Additionally, outpatient rehab typically follows an inpatient stay on the continuum of care. Outpatient rehab requires a higher level of personal responsibility and consists of regular check-ins, therapy, and psychoeducational groups.

Psychological Therapies

Throughout the continuum of care, a number of psychological therapies are used. These therapies are aimed at helping individuals find the motivation to change and then giving them the tools to do so. A few psychological therapies used in treatment include:
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Prize-based contingency therapy
  • Seeking safety
  • Guided self-change

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are aimed at changing behaviors and addressing the underlying reasons for the behaviors. Behavioral therapies for substance abuse treatment include:

Get Help With Substance Induced Disorders at Profound Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance induced disorder, Profound Treatment is here to help. Profound Treatment offers high-end treatment options and operates on a dual diagnosis model.

Profound Treatment has the tools to address addiction, substance induced disorders and any underlying mental health conditions. Get in contact with us today and experience the Profound Treatment difference.

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