9 Facts About Substance Use Disorders

Rather than using the term “addiction”, the American Psychiatric Association calls alcohol and drug problems “substance use disorders” or “substance dependence” (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 173).


Symptoms related to alcohol or drug use include: inability to meet responsibilities at school, work and home; using drugs or alcohol during dangerous situations like driving; arrests for public intoxication or legal problems; and fighting or interactive problems (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 174).


Consequences for substance use includes a loss of family or job, serious health issues, and incarceration (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 174).


Alcohol complications are more common than complications with illegal drugs (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 174).


Over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs can lead to abuse, misuse, and dependence (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 174).


It is more likely for young people to experience problems from using ecstasy, inhalants, or anabolic steroids than older people (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 174).


Older adults are more likely to encounter prescription drug problems because thy are prescribed more medications than other sectors of the population. They also do not metabolize medications well (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 174).



“Pharming” is a common trend for young people where they abuse prescription drugs that are usually obtained illegally (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 175).


Approximately 15 million people have an alcohol use disorder, 4 million have a drug use disorder, and 3 million have both alcohol and drug disorder (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 175).

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