There’s a big difference between substance use, abuse, and addiction. Getting an exact substance abuse definition can determine whether individuals need treatment. These are some of the best ways to define and recognize substance abuse.
Using Prescription Drugs Without a Prescription
There are thousands of prescription drugs that individuals can use safely with medical supervision. Millions of people around the world use prescription medications legally and safely. However, using these drugs without a prescription is a clear sign of prescription drug abuse.
There are many reasons why it’s dangerous to use prescription drugs without a prescription. These drugs are more potent than over-the-counter medications, and they can do damage to certain individuals. They can even react poorly with other medications that individuals use.
It’s also substance abuse if individuals have a prescription for a drug but take it inappropriately. This means taking larger doses than the physician prescribes, or taking tablets and pills in a different way than is recommended. It also includes getting multiple prescriptions and using more than one at the same time.
Using Illegal Drugs in Any Capacity
Most illegal drugs are illegal precisely because they’re dangerous. Drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin are unhealthy and risky. Worst of all, they can cause addiction is as little as a single dose.
For these reasons and many more, there’s no safe amount of illegal drug use. One drug abuse definition is simply using any of these highly risky, highly addictive substances.
One Substance Abuse Definition = The Inability to Stop
On a personal level, you can abuse any substance if you’re unable to control your use. One way to determine whether substance use has become substance abuse is to try to stop using.
Those who struggle with a substance abuse disorder will typically have a hard time cutting back or quitting. A person who drinks socially may have no trouble abstaining from alcohol for a few weeks. A person dealing with alcohol abuse, however, may find it difficult. Withdrawal symptoms or a feeling of unease and illness when cutting back are definite signs of substance abuse or even addiction.
Treating Substance Abuse
The substance abuse definition according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, is that of an illness. That means that if you or someone you care about abuses substances, professional help and treatment is necessary.
Addiction treatment can come in many forms. There are several options available. Just some include the following
- Partial hospitalization programs
- Outpatient programs
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Aftercare and continuing care programs
While in these programs, a range of evidence-based therapies can work toward helping people understand and overcome addiction. Many different individual and group therapy sessions can make a serious difference in relapse prevention in the future.
Defining substance abuse is the first step toward acknowledging that there’s a problem. At Crestview Recovery in Portland, Oregon, you can start recovering from substance abuse right away. Call 866.262.0531 to begin living your life free from addiction.