Define Substance Abuse

pills spilling on paper to define substance abuse

Treatment specialists often define substance abuse as excessive use of drugs or alcohol. However, we can categorize abuse in various ways. Some people abuse alcohol on occasion. Others may form an addiction use disorder. Still, other users may fall into a long-term dependency that lasts for years.

To define substance abuse properly for any individual user, you need to establish a pattern of substance use that leads to significant impairment of the senses. In most cases, impairment is voluntary. In other words, a person chooses to consume large amounts of alcohol either in an isolated instance or over and again. To get a better understanding, it makes sense to examine how professionals define substance abuse when it comes to drug and alcohol detox.

Recurring Substance Abuse

The term, substance abuse, can take on a variety of meanings depending on how you understand the concept. Some examples of how people understand substance may include:

A Single Occurrence

If abusing a substance is merely the act of drinking too much or using an illicit drug for recreation, then a single instance could pass for abuse. A person may only use cocaine once. However, knowing that it is both dangerous and illegal, consuming the drug just once could be considered abuse.

Reach out to a detox center for specialized detox, like heroin detox programs, if a single occurrence becomes a substance abuse problem.

The Occasional Binge

A person ‘cutting loose’ and using drugs or going on a binge is generally accepted as normal behavior in today’s culture. They may go out on the weekend, get drunk, and smoke weed. While few people would consider this an ongoing problem, it does often lead to substance abuse and sets the stage for addiction.

An Addiction or Dependency

An easier way for most people to define substance abuse is when they observe an addiction or dependency on drugs or alcohol. This happens when a person either can’t or doesn’t want to stop using the substance. Substance abuse gets out of control and starts to dominate every area of a person’s life.

Recognizing Substance Abuse

Due to the widespread acceptance of certain substances in culture, recognizing substance abuse is not always easy. Some of the most commonly abused substances include:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin

A person who drinks alcohol every day may start drinking only on occasion. Eventually, they may increase their intake or frequency of use, finding new reasons to drink. Eventually, they start drinking every day. Finally, they become consumed with alcohol and feel as though they can’t live without it. The process can occur so slowly that few people recognize that the user has a problem.

Prescription medication abuse can be extremely difficult to identify because users are expected to take their medication every day. Dosage increases are also considered normal because most people are aware of the body’s tolerance to any drug. By the time a person recognizes a problem, the user may be taking more than the recommended dosage and finding ways to buy the drug.

Define Substance Abuse: Learn More at Summit Detox

If you would like to learn more about how to define substance abuse, then contact Summit Detox today. We provide comprehensive detox treatment for all types of substances. Call (888) 995-5265 to learn more about your treatment options.

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