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  What is Substance Abuse?

What is Substance Abuse?

Any form of Substance abuse can be defined as a regular pattern of use of substances for mood or physical altering purposes that has an overall negative or harmful outcome. In general, when referring to substance abuse we recognize that there is an addictive feature or the tendency to require more of a substance to get the same effects over time and a desire to continue to consume the drug despite negative consequences. The substance may be an illegal drug, or one that is overused or used illicitly (such as prescription medication which is used for purposes other than directed).

This is an important issue among individuals or communities who have face trauma as it is not unusual for the sufferer to turn to substances to self-soothe or distract themselves from the emotional discomfort they are experiencing. Although substances can be used within the normal boundaries of social activity (i.e., having a glass of wine with a meal) it becomes a problem when the individual begins to spend increasing time seeking the substance of choice and that the use of this substance is impairing their functioning in various areas of their lives.

Commonly used Drugs or Substances

There are substances such as Alcohol, Cigarettes, Coffee and even over the counter medication which when taken in large doses can lead to dependence, health and social problems. In addition, medication prescribed to be taken in moderate or required doses by one individual can be abused either by the individual, sold or given to others for whom it is not prescribed or purchased illegally and consumed illicitly.

Some of the most commonly used illegal or illicitly used drugs or substances include the following:

  • Cannabinoids:  Hashish, Marijuana
  • Depressants:  Barbituates, Benodiazepines, Rohypnol, GHB, Quaaludes
  • Dissociative Anesthestics:  Ketamine, PCP
  • Hallucinogens:  LSD, Mescaline, Psilocybin
  • Opiods and other Morphine Derivatives:  Codeine, Ecstacy, Methamphetamine, Nicotine
  • Other Substances:  Anabolic Steroids, Inhalants