Substance Related Disorders

The two sub-groups of disorders in this category refer to either the abuse or dependence on a substance.  A substance can be anything that is ingested in order to produce a high, alter one’s senses, or otherwise affect functioning. The DSM-IV-TR includes Alcohol, Amphetamine, Caffeine, Cannabis, Cocaine, Hallucinogen, Inhalants, Opioids, Phencyclidine, and Sedative, Hypnotic, or Anxiolytics. The role of psychological support and interventions seems to be evident in its promise to aid clients with learning the skills in order to replace their maladaptive strategies. The holistic approach, along CBT principles, will be crucial in addressing the substance-related problems as well as the pre-conditions and resulting issues in a person’s life. Motivation is the key in treatment approaches for drug and alcohol issues.

Substance Abuse is a pattern of substance use leading to significant impairment in functioning. It is using a drug excessively, or for purposes for which it was not medically intended. One of the following must be present within a 12 month period: (1) recurrent use resulting in a failure to fulfil major obligations at work, school, or home; (2) recurrent use in situations which are physically hazardous (e.g., driving while intoxicated); (3) legal problems resulting from recurrent use; or (4) continued use despite significant social or interpersonal problems caused by the substance use. The symptoms do not meet the criteria for substance dependence.

Substance Dependence is compulsively using a substance, despite its negative and sometimes dangerous effects. It includes use history which includes the following: (1) substance abuse; (2) continuation of use despite related problems; (3) increase in tolerance (more of the drug is needed to achieve the same effect); and (4) withdrawal symptoms.