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Substance use

Substance use is the continued use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or the misuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs with negative consequences. These consequences may involve:

  • Problems at work, school, home or in interpersonal relationships
  • Problems with the law
  • Health problems
  • Physical risks that come with using drugs in dangerous situations

Substances that are commonly used include:

Alternative Names

Substance abuse; Illicit drug abuse; Narcotic abuse; Hallucinogen abuse

References

American Psychiatric Association. Substance-related and addictive disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013:481-590.

Weiss RD. Drugs of abuse. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 34.

Review Date 8/14/2017

Updated by: Fred K. Berger, MD, addiction and forensic psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Internal review and update on 11/06/2018 by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.