Substance use disorder is marked by a pattern of pathological behaviors related to use of the substance. As listed in the DSM, they include:
• Being unable to stop taking a substance, even when wanting to cut down or regulate use or having tried several times
• Worrying about the next dose or getting a consistent supply of the substance
• Experiencing intense cravings at any time, but especially in places where the drug was once obtained or used
• Devoting considerable time to getting, taking, or recovering from drug
• Neglecting roles and responsibilities such as work, school or home obligations
• Experiencing interpersonal problems as a result of substance use
• Changing social patterns, withdrawing from family, friends and activities in order to use a substance
• Facing risky situations to become intoxicated or maintain a supply of drug
• Using a substance despite knowing it causes physical or psychological harm to oneself
• Developing tolerance, requiring more drug to get an effect; a common but not invariable feature of addiction, sometimes called adaptation
• Developing the unpleasant physiologic symptoms of withdrawal—shakiness, sweating, queasiness or vomiting, headache—when unable to take the substance. Withdrawal is a highly variable sign of addiction; it occurs with use of some drugs (alcohol, for example) but not others (cocaine); however, it often drives continuing use. Withdrawal can require medical treatment when a person abruptly stops heavy substance use.
Along with the diagnostic signposts of addiction, those addicted typically display a number of other behavioral characteristics:
• Secretiveness about activities and relationships as well as private space, to conceal drug use
• Sudden changes in activity patterns, refusing participation in activities once enjoyed
• Lying about whereabouts, absences, consumption habits; making excuses for unusual behavior
• Loss of energy or motivation
• Neglect of appearance
• Stealing to support drug purchases.
Well-Being at Northwestern
Transitioning to and through your first year at Northwestern involves a great deal of change that can impact your well-being. Prioritizing your health is an ongoing, lifelong process; therefore, each component of Northwestern’s orientation includes ways to learn about well-being and how to find support for thriving mentally and physically throughout your time as a Wildcat. Well-Being Resources in Purple Prep Connecting with AccessibleNU (accommodations for students with disabilities)
Caring for yourself and being connected to resources that can assist you is a first step in utilizing self-advocacy as a well-being tool. Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with AccessibleNU over the summer to ensure resources are available as soon as fall classes begin.Learn more about AccessibleNU.Connecting with the Health Service and the Student Insurance Office
Several Purple Prep checklist tasks connect you with resources and structures that support personal wellness, such as through submitting your immunization form and ensuring you have comprehensive health insurance coverage.
Northwestern Medicine Student Health Services is the on-campus resource for affordable, comprehensive health care for students actively enrolled in a degree-seeking program. Visit the health service website to learn more about its medical and nursing services, including in-house pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology services. There is no charge for office visits for students who meet the eligibility requirements. Ancillary services—including x-ray, laboratory, and pharmacy costs—will be billed directly to the student’s primary insurance. Students may use the MyNM portal to schedule appointments, view test results, and message the student health clinical team.
Learn more about the Immunization Form or Medical Insurance.Consulting with CAPS
Before you come to campus, it is important to consider how you will maintain your emotional and mental health in your first year as a Wildcat. Having a plan in place is highly recommended. For assistance over the summer, students and their families are encouraged (but not required) to set up a phone consultation with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
CAPS offerings are available to all full-time enrolled students at no cost, though psychiatric services are offered only when a student is in ongoing CAPS counseling. In some cases, students may be referred to off-campus providers; when this happens, CAPS works with students to ensure they find appropriate, affordable services. All CAPS services are confidential and do not appear on your academic record. Learn more and contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).Pre-True Northwestern Dialogue module: Alcohol Education
This pre-TND module prompts you to examine your assumptions about alcohol and find ways to make informed decisions about alcohol’s role in your college experience. Learn more about the True Northwestern Dialogue Series.Well-Being Resources in Before the Arch
Before the Arch connects you with current students who can offer insight into the social and emotional aspects of the transition to Northwestern. Even though participating in Before the Arch is optional, take the time to engage with the ideas behind it and how it relates to managing your well-being during the college transition. Learn more about Before the Arch.Well-Being Resources in Wildcat Welcome Schedule structure
Wildcat Welcome is structured to support you as you navigate your transition to Northwestern. While its daily schedule is full, it is designed to provide windows of time for you to think about and practice self-care methods. Learn more about Wildcat Welcome.Programs and Resources
College is not designed to be done on your own. Throughout Wildcat Welcome you’ll learn about a variety of programs and resources that can help you thrive in your first year. You’ll also learn about the eight dimensions of wellness and their corresponding resources.True Northwestern Dialogue: Well-Being
This TND guides you on how to create a plan to manage your well-being. Through your peer adviser group, you’ll be able to hear from a current student about their Northwestern experience and the resources they used to take good care of themselves.Learn more about the True Northwestern Dialogue Series.
How Taking Short Vacations Can Improve Your Well-Being at Work
Without a doubt, the nonstop demands of work and life can take a toll on your well-being, depleting your physical resources and cognitive capacities—and possibly resulting in adverse health and performance results.
Taking a real break is important for so many reasons. Research emphatically shows that vacations improve our physical and mental health while also boosting our performance at work. Perhaps surprisingly, they can even increase the likelihood of receiving a raise or promotion.
But that doesn’t mean we always use our vacation time. In fact, nearly half of U.S. workers take less time off than their job allows, leaving an average of 9.5 days of paid time off (PTO) on the table. And for 30 percent of employees, this unused vacation time doesn’t roll over to the next year.
Even if many workers don’t use all their PTO, taking mini-vacations throughout the year can improve their overall well-being.Short vacations can improve your well-being as well as your job performance. Tom Merton/Getty Why Employees Don’t Take Enough Vacation
We know that being on vacation feels good and that it’s good for us. So why do we neglect to take all the time we’ve earned? Naturally, there is the expense, and the logistics involved in long trips can be daunting.
It also turns out that taking extended time away from the office causes a lot of stress. A 2023 Pew Research Center survey of over 5,900 U.S. workers found the following:49 percent of participants indicated they worried they might fall behind at work.43 percent said they felt badly about their co-workers taking on more work.Nearly 20 percent cited concerns that taking more vacation time might hurt their chances of job advancement.16 percent worried they might risk losing their job.
No wonder, then, that most people don’t use all their vacation time. And over half (52 percent) of U.S. employees work while on vacation.
More Well-Being Tips from NewsweekHow Mini-Vacations Can Boost Your Well-Being
Whether or not this vacation-related anxiety comes from reasonable reasons isn’t the question. The U.S. is not the only developed country to have a hustle culture, and making changes despite the influence of systemic forces takes time.
The good news is that it’s not necessary to take a long vacation to get many of the benefits. In fact, taking shorter breaks throughout the year may be more beneficial for your mental well-being and performance than taking one long vacation.
In other words, you can get the benefits of a vacation without incurring the stress of an extended time away.
Consider this research. Vacations are proven to increase positive emotions, but that boost in happiness is short-lived. At the same time, anticipating your trip yields an extended period of increased happiness. So taking multiple shorter trips throughout the year allows for more opportunities to boost your mood.
Additionally, a 2021 study in the journal Annals of Tourism Research Empirical Insights shows that short breaks achieve restorative benefits on par with longer vacations and even edge out vacations in the recovery of cognitive capacity.
So while longer vacations can be lovely, shorter breaks offer a practical and highly effective way to gain similar restorative benefits.
And those restorative benefits are very much needed right now. With burnout, currently a very real problem among both managers and their teams, still at alarmingly high levels, it’s critical for leaders to demonstrate that they’re serious about taking time off.
Because, understandably, if you say to your team members, “It’s no problem, take the week off” but then you don’t do the same, your team members will start to hesitate in taking vacation time and feel guilty if they do. What you say is less important than what you do. And ultimately, by scheduling some breaks, you can ensure you don’t unintentionally increase job stress and burnout on your team.
Great news, right? Now all you need to do is choose a weekend and plan a real getaway.Maximizing the Restorative Benefits of Time Off
Many workers don’t feel comfortable taking extended time off. But luckily, research suggests that the activities and experiences that you engage in are more important than the length of time you are off.
As you plan your next long weekend or mini-vacation, here’s how to maximize its restorative benefits:Intentionally detach from work as fully as possible.Choose an environment that allows you to feel removed from your regular routine and responsibilities.Steer clear of settings that feel confusing, chaotic or tension-inducing, like heavy traffic and tight schedules.Spend time engaging in “soft fascination” activities that effortlessly hold your attention yet provide ample room for reflection (like unwinding in nature).Limit the time you spend doing work-like activities, such as driving, using a computer or completing errands.
Even if you have limited PTO days available, the benefits of short recharges are undeniable. Look at your calendar now and pick a few long weekends in the next quarter or two. You’ll have something to look forward to and can return to work restored—which will be good for you and good for your team.
About the Author
Dina Denham Smith is an executive coach to senior leaders at world-leading brands such as Adobe, Netflix, PwC, Dropbox, Stripe and numerous high-growth companies. A former business executive, she is the founder and CEO of Cognitas and helps leaders and their teams reach new heights of success. Connect with her on LinkedIn.