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Types of Substance Abuse

There are five different types of substance abuse.  The first is psychological dependence.  A person has become psychologically dependent on a drug when he or she feels a strong craving for the harmful substance because it produces pleasurable feelings or relieves stress or anxiety.

The second type is physical dependence.  A person has become physically dependent on a drug when he or she needs larger and larger doses to achieve the same desired effect.  The person usually needs to take more and more of the drug since the body has built up a tolerance to the effects of the drug.  In some cases, a person takes so much of a drug that it can cause intoxication or an overdose.

The third type is substance dependence.  A person becomes intoxicated or high on a regular basis, whether it be everyday, every weekend or just a few times a year.  The person may try to stop taking the drug but will fail even though the person knows that the drug is affecting their health, family life, relationships and work.  The person may even realize that with continued use of the drug, he or she is putting themselves in danger.

The fourth type is classified as substance abuse.  A person may continue to take drugs because his or her body does not build up tolerance or go through withdrawal.  The person will continue using drugs despite their harmful consequences.

The final type of substance abuse is withdrawal.  Withdrawal is a state of acute physical and psychological pain with symptoms ranging from mild to life threatening.  A person suffers from withdrawal when he or she reduces or stops using a drug.

For more information please contact the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, at 800-662-4357, or visit them online at SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Phone code: 1771


Code 1771

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