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Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse is defined as repeatedly using a particular substance (such as a drug or alcohol ) in a way that causes significant problems for oneself or others. These problems all recur during a one-year period and can be characterized in at least one of the following ways:

  1. Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home.
  2. Getting into trouble with the law repeatedly for substance-related problems.
  3. Using the substance in a hazardous way, such as driving or operating heavy machinery while intoxicated.
  4. Continuing to use the substance despite the fact that this is clearly causing significant and repeated interpersonal problems, such as major arguments with one's spouse regarding the substance use, or getting into frequent physical fights.

If an individual has ever had Substance Dependence, then they cannot be diagnosed with Substance Abuse for that same substance.


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Substance Dependence