Substance use disorders

(SUDs) / addiction

A substance use disorder (SUD) is a recognised mental disorder that can affect someone's brain and behaviour, and making them incapable of controlling their use of substances like alcohol, legal or controlled drugs, or medications.

More about substance use disorders and addictions

Addiction can refer to the use or abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs, but it may also refer to behavioural addictions such as gambling. Addiction is a complex mental illness in which the sufferer can’t control their compulsive substance use or behaviour, even if they know it is detrimental to their health, finances, or wellbeing.

People with substance use disorder have distorted thinking and behaviour patterns that do not follow logic and tend to ignore evidence. Families and friends are often profoundly affected by these disorders – attempts to help are often met with denial and aggression.

What to keep in mind

Substance use or behavioural addictions often comes at a huge and increasing financial cost and the stigma around addiction often results in denial or attempted cover ups. This can leave loved ones feeling helpless, which may cause anxiety and depression.

Our dual diagnosis unit

The dual diagnosis units (DDU) were established specifically to care for people with two or more psychiatric conditions, one of which is a substance/chemical or behavioural addiction.

This programme is based on clinical best practice, ensuring that you have the best possible recovery outcome. We make sure that treatment includes the teaching of coping skills that will help each patient not just during treatment, but long after they have been discharged and are navigating their normal daily life.

More than just substance use disorders

Substance use disorders are classified as psychiatric diseases in and of themselves.

According to international research, 80% of people who struggle with substance abuse or addictive behaviour also suffer from other psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, as well as unresolved issues from the past, and current social circumstances.

Recognising symptoms

Signs and symptoms of addictive behaviour

The key feature of a substance use disorder is when the person continues to use the substance, even though it is causing significant problems for them.

The same applies to engaging in particular compulsive behaviours. Usually, this is seen when someone’s relationship with the specific substance or behaviour becomes the main relationship in their life, overtaking relationships with family, friends, loved ones, work, or studies.

  • Absence from work, university, school or college

  • Alienation of family and/or loss of friends

  • Risky and dangerous behaviour

  • Continued use of the substance or engagement in the behaviour despite progressive health risks

  • Poor job performance

  • Changes in mood, appearance, and behaviour

  • Tolerance developing over time and withdrawal symptoms

  • Failed attempts to cut down, manage use, or quit the substance or behaviour

Mac Netcare

Take a self-assessment

Our substance use self-assessment can help you to understand and reflect on your relationship with any substances you use, and identify whether it's something you may need help to manage.

Complete self-assessment

Treatment programme for substance use disorders and addiction

If you and your family are trapped in this destructive cycle, be assured that there is a way out. No matter how isolated and alone you feel, there are many other people walking the same path, and there are dedicated professionals who are committed to helping you change the direction of you and your family’s life for the better.

Mac Netcare

Get in touch

As part of our commitment to providing the best and safest care to all of our patients, we listen. If you have anything you'd like to ask us, or need assistance accessing our services, please get in touch.

Contact us