26 May, 2015
Anxiety Disorder
26 May, 2015

Substance Use Disorder

What is a substance use disorder?
Different substances affect the brain in different ways.  Substance use disorder causes work, school, health, legal, and family problems.  The use of alcohol, drugs or other psychoactive substances does not necessarily mean that the person suffers from a substance abuse disorder.  Substance use tends to appear in adolescence or early adulthood and the average onset age is 20 years old.  About 75% of the people develop substance use disorder before age 27.  It is more common in men than in women.  Substance use disorders often occur in combination with mood, anxiety, and psychotics disorders.  Persons with mood or anxiety disorders are two or three times more likely to have substance use disorders.

Dependence and substance abuse are not the same, since substance abuse, which includes alcohol can go unnoticed, but it requires treatment.

  • Dependency: the body craves the substance
  • Tolerance: the person requires increased doses over time and the effect decreases with repetitive use.
  • Withdrawal problems: the person has difficulty when stops using the psychoactive substance.
  • Use of higher doses for longer periods.
  • Problems with stopping or controlling the use.
  • The person fails to attend important social and occupational activities or decreases the amount of time attending said activities, because is using psychoactive substances.


What can I do to avoid the use of psychoactive substances?

  • Avoid participating in activities with access to alcohol, drugs, or other psychoactive substances.
  • Spend time in activities in which there are no psychoactive substances involved.
  • Avoid friends that involve you in psychoactive substance use.
  • Identify situations where access to the psychoactive substance is likely, and avoid them if possible.
  • Seek professional help; attend support groups that motivate you to prevent drug use.
  • Make friends that are a positive influence in you, this commits you more.


Useful resources:
ASSMCA: 787-763-7575
PAZ line: 1-800-981-0023, 1-888-672-7622
Phone 1-800-662-9832
Book: The Healing Project (2008) Voices of Alcoholism.