Substance Abuse Disorder

Opiods, Hallucinogens and PCP, Cannabis, Inhalents

Substance abuse is determined by someone's recurrent use of a substance resulting in significant harmful consequences.


There are four categories that will begin to be fulfilled if someone does happen to be a substance abuser.

The first is when the individual in question fails to complete their obligations. Meaning going to work or school, maintaining the home, or even just maintaining their relationships with peers and family. They may not attended classes or go to work but if they do they may be distracted and not really pay much attention to their surroundings.

Second, the individual will begin to use the substance even when they know that the situation doesn't allow it or if it is harmful for them. They will know this but they do it anyways because they feel like they have to.

A third category is the individual continues to have legal problems because of substance use, these include drunk driving or a possession charge for example.

A fourth and final category is when the individual continues to use the substance no matter the social or legal issues that it brings them.


By looking at a household survey below from 2002 you can see that the use of illegal substances is quite high, and this is only from the amount of people who actually confess that they have used or do use. Even though this number may not be close to the actual amount it is still a fair amount of users so you aren't the only one out there that abuses, just ask for help. You won't be judge, there are people everywhere willing to help you.
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There's always an option for help, you don't have to go at it alone or not get help. There are many people that would love to help anyone who needs or think they need it. Don't be ashamed because you think you're the only one or you're bad. You aren't people get stuck and sometimes just need a little assistance getting out and to the other side. It's ok, just ask.

As ironic as it sounds a common treatment for this diagnosis is drug therapy. The medication given to those who are in need is a lighter amount and not as strong as the substance that you're attempting to get away from.

The second is by talk therapy or by being goal oriented. This helps by giving someone a "prize" if they can get past each goal without slipping up. With each new goal met then the person being treated can keep pushing forward in their treatment and continue to feel good about themselves.

You can't just make everyone go through the same treatment or whatever treatment you think they should do just because you think so. Everyone is different in the way that they think and act to that means your treatment should be tailored to each person. You have to conduct interviews and really work to understand each individual for who they really are.

When you are searching for help you don't want to just go out and find some random person who says that they know how to deal with your situation. You need to find someone who went to an accredited college or university and majored in what you need. Meaning you don't want to go to a child psychologist, that won't get you anywhere. But when you begin the search for what you need they can help you and possibly give you names or numbers of someone you are looking for.


There are many different myths and misconceptions when it comes to every type of substance abuse there is.

  • Most people who encounter an abuser think that they are bad people and need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This is not true, they aren't bad people. These people made mistakes and now can't correct them on their own. They are strong individuals when they ask for help because it is their last resort because they are giving up on doing things on their own.
  • Some believe that they can't be corrected, this isn't true. With the right therapist and treatment plan they can make a complete turn around and go back to their previous life that didn't involve the substance.
  • What most people don't understand is that there isn't just one simple treatment that works for everyone. Like stated above, everyone is different and they each need different treatment plans if they want to be successful. This takes time but can be very effective if they are correctly treated.


Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal psychology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Substance Abuse and Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Treatments for Substance Use Disorders. (2015, September 28). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from