Subjective Units of Distress Scale measuresthe ‘subjective’ intensity of disturbance or distress currently experienced by an individual.
A SUDs scale is mostly used with anxiety or for instance when working with a fear of flying, phobias, or even with pain management. The individual self-assesses where they are on the scale and the therapist can work from this.
When working with a SUDS it is important to consider what condition you are working with. A therapist should think carefully about what level of SUDs is a suitable level to reach.
Working with pain is a typical one where it should never be brought back down to 0, as the pain is there for a reason and it must not be ignored altogether. Working with pain or any medical conditions should only be done after obtaining a doctor’s letter.
10 = Feeling overwhelmed, agonizingly bad, beside yourself, out of control as if experiencing a nervous breakdown. You may feel so upset and agitated that you don’t even want to explain what you are going through as you feel no one will understand, so you stay quiet.
9 = Feeling distressed, freaking, feeling everything is unbearable and you are getting scared of how you might react. Losing control of your emotions and feeling extremely bad.
Most people are a 9 when they say they are a 10.
8 = Losing it, going crazy, flying of the handle, losing control.
7 = Starting to crack up, on the verge of losing your composure and on the verge of having some really bad emotions and feelings. You are nearly losing control.
6 = Feeling awful, you start to think you need to do something about the way you feel.
5 = Feeling reasonably upset and uncomfortable. You can still manage your unpleasant feelings but it takes a lot more efforts.
4 = Upset and agitated, you can’t ignore what is happening and the associated feelings. You can handle the situation and feelings but it some efforts and it’s affecting you.
3 = A little upset and worried. You start to notice something is not quite right, it’s bothering you.
2 = Only a little upset when you pay attention to the way you behave and your feelings. You only notice there is something bothering you when you analyse your emotions.
1 = Feeling basically good. However, if you really think hard and put your mind to it, you might be able to feel something unpleasant.
0 = Peaceful, nothing is bothering you.
Marie claude Bouchet
Professional development, Personal development, mental wellbeing, stress management, resilience etc.