DUI, what the heck is that? CD, another confusing term! Oh yes, and don’t forget about SUD.

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Let’s clear up some of the confusion.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) 

This means operating a motor vehicle while being under the influence of drugs. Not just under the influence of alcohol (a blood level above 0.08) but under the influence of any drug that makes you think unclearly. Marijuana, even when legal in some states is not to be used if you are going to drive. Some prescription drugs such as anti-anxiety medications, narcotic pain killers, sedatives, and muscle relaxants to name a few. Even though these are prescribed by a medical professional they can alter response time, and impede thinking and driving. 

When a  DUI arrest happens it is a serious offense that can have life-long consequences. The usual process is, getting arrested and being booked at the nearest police station or jail (yes, mug shots, fingerprints, and released on bail if you are lucky). You will be ordered to appear in court, could face jail time, your driver’s license will be suspended, and you will pay fines. You will be ordered by the court to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation by a licensed professional. If the counselor determines that you have a drug or alcohol problem then they will recommend the appropriate court-approved treatment program before your driving privileges are restored. Not to mention your insurance rates will go sky-high.

Does getting a DUI mean you have a Chemical dependency (CD) problem? 

Chemical Dependency or CD means being dependent on a substance or drug, this is evaluated by a licensed, trained professional. Chemical Dependency (CD) is a term used by health professionals, insurance companies, and courts. Most lay people use the term addiction, alcoholism, and drug addiction.

Substance use disorder (SUD) & Chemical Dependency (CD) 

So what is SUD? Defined by the National Institute of Health is a treatable mental disorder that affects a person’s brain and behavior, leading to their inability to control their use of substances like legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications. Symptoms can be moderate to severe, with addiction being the most severe form of SUD.

Just to make it a little more confusing Substance use disorder (SUD) has replaced the term Chemical Dependency (CD) for health professionals.  Again this is not a term that lay people use very often but they will see these terms used when dealing with a Treatment Program, courts, attorneys, and insurance companies. Chemical dependency (CD) and Substance use disorder (SUD) can be used interchangeably, mostly because Chemical dependency (CD) is easier to say.

Don’t feel crazy or unintelligent, just keep asking what it means. Health care is riddled with its own terminology which can be even confusing to those in it.