Substance Abuse

“The continued use of alcohol or other drugs is causing and continuing significant disruption in an individual’s personal, social, spiritual physical, and/or economic life and the person does not stop using alcohol or other drugs.” -  American Medical Association  

Signs and Symptoms

  • Loss of Control
    • Drinking or using in larger amounts or over longer periods of time than intended
    • Feeling unable to stop drinking or using
  • Excessive Use
    • Binge drinking or using
    • Drinking or using frequently
  • Time Spent Using and Recovering
    • Ensuring alcohol or drug of choice is always available
    • Ensuring multiple opportunities to drink or use
    • Frequent need for time to recover from drinking or drug use due to hangovers, physical consequences, etc.
  • Drinking or Using at Inappropriate Times
    • Before class, work, or other commitments
    • Drinking or using at hazardous times, such as before driving
  •  Drinking or Using is the Priority
    • Making drinking or using a priority over class, work, and involvement in activities
    • Spending more time with friends who drink or use and less time with friends who do not
  • Continuing to Drink or Use Despite Consequences
    • Consequences can include but are not limited to poor performance in classes or at work, relationship problems, physical problems, and alcohol or drug charges through the University or police
  • Tolerance
    • Needing to drink or use in larger amounts to get the same buzz or high
  • Withdrawal
    • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking or using, such has headaches, anxiety, sleep disruptions, and difficulty concentrating
  • Self-Medicating
    • Drinking or using to alleviate anxiety, sleep, reduce physical symptoms, or alter mood

Reference: A Guide to Understanding Addiction, The BACCHUS & GAMMA Peer Education Network, 2008

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