Simply stated, substance abuse is a pattern of use that results in harm to one's health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to carry out expected obligations at home, work, or school. Substance abuse can be episodic (binge patterns) or continuous. The symptoms of substance abuse include any one or more of the following occurring in a 12 month period:
- Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
- Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- Recurrent substance-related legal problems.
- Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems cause or exacerbated by the effects of the substance.
Substance dependence is a more serious problem characterized by three or more of the following symptoms occurring in a 12 month period:
Tolerance, as defined by either;
- a need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect, or
- markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance
Withdrawal, as manifested by either;
- characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance, or
- the same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms
- The substance is often used in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control substance use.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of the substance.
- Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.
- Substance use is continued despite knowledge or having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
The most common classes of abusable substances include:
- Nicotine (cigarettes, cigars, oral tobacco)
- Opioids (street drugs such as heroin, prescription pain killers)
- Benzodiazepines (drugs to treat anxiety and/or insomnia)
- Sedatives (barbiturates, tranquilizers)
- Stimulants (street drugs such as methamphetamine and prescriptions drugs used for weight loss and/or ADD)
- Cannabinoids (marijuana, hashish)
- Cocaine based drugs (powder, injectible, crack cocaine)
- Hallucinogenics (LSD, mushrooms, PCP, ecstasy)
- inhalants (glues, solvents, gasoline, dusters)
If you think that you have a drug or alcohol problem, help is available. You may schedule a private consultation appointment.