What is Substance Abuse?


What is Substance Abuse?

Substances like illicit drugs, prescription Drugs and alcohol are abused for a wide number of reasons.

They also cause many dangers and negative side effects for the drug user and those around them.

In the United States, the biggest substance concerns are Prescription Drug and illicit drug use.


The most used drug in the United States is Marijuana, but Prescription Drug use is the fastest growing problem in the country. People as young as 12 years old begin using drugs, many of them continuing to use them. These substances are all prone to abuse and highly addictive which is only worsens the problem.

Substance abuse is the excessive use of any substance, whether drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Many different substances can lead to addiction, but abuse is different from addiction.

Substance Abuse Image

Abuse involves using a substance excessively to the point of not wanting to quit and letting your life suffer as a result.

However with addiction, you are physically dependent on the substance, unable to quit and unwilling to do anything about your problem because you feel you need the substance in your life.


If you can get treatment for your substance abuse before it leads to full-blown addiction, withdrawal and the treatment process in general will be much easier for you.

Causes of Substance Abuse

While there is no known cause, or single cause, for substance abuse, there are some risk factors that could make you more susceptible to abuse of drugs or alcohol. The following are some of the most common risk factors for substance abuse:

  • Having a close a family member abusing drugs or alcohol at home.
  • Early development issues that lead to substance abuse.
  • Having a stressful or chaotic home environment.
  • Not being nurtured enough as a child.
  • Poor socialization outside of close family members.
  • Shy or aggressive behavior in school.
  • Inefficient social coping skills.
  • Poor school performance.
  • Spending time with peers who use drugs or alcohol.
  • Mental disorders like anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.

Signs of Substance Abuse

If you're worried that a close family member or friend is abusing drugs or alcohol, there are some signs you can look for. The following signs are very common among the average person abusing drugs or alcohol:

  • Poor work or school attendance
  • Getting into legal trouble
  • Constantly asking for money
  • Stealing money to support their drug habit
  • Giving up activities they used to enjoy
  • Hanging out with a new group of people
  • Preferring social isolation
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Aggressiveness and irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety, depression or hopelessness
  • Using drugs or drinking alcohol on a regular basis
  • Lying to family and friends out their whereabouts
  • Having hangovers on a regular basis
  • The belief that they can only have a good time when under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Pressuring others to use the same substances

Getting Help for Substance Abuse

Due to the wide variety of side effects, dangers and long-term problems of substance abuse, it is important that you get help right away.

Substance Addiction Image

The first stage of treatment will be withdrawal which is your body's way of reacting to the lack of chemicals.

The severity of your substance abuse problem will determine how severe the withdrawal period is. It could last between 2 and 10 days or even longer if you have been using drugs for a long period of time.

Because of the harsh side effects of withdrawal, many treatment facilities offer detox programs.


Detox uses medication therapy as a way to monitor your symptoms and reduce some of the more painful ones. The following withdrawal symptoms are common among those in substance abuse treatment:

  • Body Tremors
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Swelling of the Extremities
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Persistent Cough
  • Flu-like Symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Chest Pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure
  • Body Weakness


If you or someone you know is showing signs of substance abuse, start looking for a treatment center near you. Substance abuse rehab is highly successful and will get you on the path to recovery. You deserve to live a long, healthy life and you can do that by starting to overcome your substance abuse problem. Inquire about substance abuse programs 800-853-1387 in your area.

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