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What Is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse can simply be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes.
Medline's medical encyclopedia defines drug or substance abuse as "the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed."
People abuse substances such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco for varied and complicated reasons, but it is clear that our society pays a significant cost. The toll for this abuse can be seen in our hospitals and emergency departments through direct damage to health by substance abuse and its link to physical trauma.
Although different drugs have different physical effects, the symptoms of addiction are the same no matter the substance. The more substance abuse begins to affect and control your life, the more likely it is that you’ve crossed the line from substance use to substance abuse.
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