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Executive Pondering Min

Is All Substance Use Substance Abuse?

substance abuse and substance useSubstance use and substance abuse are not always the same thing, and there are varying degrees of alcohol and drug use that need to be considered to determine whether treatment or rehab is needed. The main types of alcohol and drug use include:

  • Experiment- Many people experiment with various substances throughout their lives. Many adolescents have experimented with alcohol or marijuana, but experimentation does not necessarily mean that the substance use has reached abuse or that help and treatment is necessary.
  • Social Use- Social use does not mean substance abuse. The individual may use alcohol or drugs only in social settings where the substance is used to help them relax and lessen any social anxiety that they may feel. This is the person who may have one or two drinks at a social gathering but who may not consume alcohol at all otherwise.
  • Binge Use- Binge substance use may or may not be considered substance abuse. The issue with a binge is that large amounts of alcohol or another substance is used in a short time period, while the individual may be a teetotaler the rest of the time. Binge episodes do indicate a need for treatment.
  • Abuse/Addiction- Substance abuse may also be referred to as addiction. This occurs when the use of a substance interferes with normal life and daily activities. The individual becomes dependent on or addicted to the use of the substance and a normal and healthy life is not possible until substance abuse treatment is successfully achieved.
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