November 27, 2009, Newsletter Issue #232: What's the difference between substance abuse and substance dependence?

Tip of the Week

According to the American Psychiatric Association, substance abuse is the excessive use of a substance that continues despite negative consequences. For example, if you have too much to drink and get arrested for DUI, AND you continue to drink excessively, you're abusing alcohol. Substance dependence indicates that your body has become physically and psychologically addicted to a substance. You will experience both withdrawal symptoms and "tolerance," which means that it takes more and more of the substance to achieve the same effect. Using the substance virtually dominates your life, negatively effecting your home life and work. Both substance abuse and dependence can be treated.

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