Substance Abuse

Understanding the Facts and Getting Help

What is Substance Abuse?

Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. While each drug produces different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common: repeated use can alter the way the brain looks and functions (NIDA, 2012).

How Does Substance Abuse Occur?

People who experiment with drugs continue to use them because the substance either makes them feel good, or stops them from feeling bad. In many cases, however, there is a fine line between regular use and drug abuse and addiction. Very few addicts are able to recognize when they have crossed that line. While frequency or the amount of drugs consumed don’t in themselves constitute drug abuse or addiction, they can often be indicators of drug-related problems (NIDA, 2012).

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National Institute of Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. (2012, December 1). Retrieved from