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What is Drugs & Alcohol?


According to American Academy of Children & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), drug and alcohol use begins with abstinence (non-use) but then progresses to include stages such as experimentation, regular or recreational use, abuse, and dependency.

Alcohol Abuse

Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?  More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?

Alcohol Dependence

Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before? Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there? Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?

More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t? Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over other aftereffects? Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink? Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?

Drug Abuse

  1. Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to.

  2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to.

  3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.

  4. Cravings and urges to use the substance.

  5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of substance use.

  6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships.

  7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.

  8. Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger.

  9. Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance.

  10. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance).

  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.


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