Is There A Difference Between Substance Use And Substance Abuse

Is There A Difference Between Substance Use And Substance Abuse

Knowing what substance abuse is can be very important. There is a clear difference between substance abuse and use. Substance abuse is when a pattern of behaviors takes place that is harmful and abusive and used to alter their mood.

Abuse is also defined as when you are using a substance against the way it is prescribed or meant to be used. It is totally possible though to be using a substance but not be addicted to it. So substance use is only abuse once the behavior becomes harmful.

Substance abuse is probably the direction you are headed in if you are causing issues like:

–    Health issues

–    Disabilities

–    Failure to meet responsibilities

–    Impaired control

–    Risky use

–    Social issues

Drinking enough to get hungover can be heading toward substance abuse. Missing work or school because of drugs or smoking so much you lose friends are also qualifiers. Even if you drink more than you mean to that’s a sign you are heading in the wrong direction.

The Dangers Of Illegal Drugs

Substance abuse is generally when people are using illegal drugs because that is abuse regardless. There is an argument on whether or not that fact is true, but most people seem to go along with the idea.

Illegal drugs differ from legal drugs because they are harmful and can alter your mind and body, but this doesn’t mean they are less damaging than legal ones. These drugs can impair judgment along with causing accidents or injuries potentially. That’s why it is dangerous to abuse all sorts of drugs.

As the argument goes through using some things for fun isn’t abuse if you aren’t addicted. Think about alcohol, for example, you aren’t abusing it if you use it to get drunk technically because that’s the purpose of it.

People who smoke marijuana also say the same thing. They aren’t abusing the substance because it does not have any toxic effects.

A list of illegal drugs in the United States that are most often abused includes:

–    Marijuana

–    Methamphetamine

–    Cocaine

–    Hallucinogens

–    Ecstasy or Molly

–    Heroin

Other Drugs That Are Abused In The United States

Of course, it is more than the obvious drugs that are abused. It is possible to abuse many other substances too. These can include prescription drugs, over the counter meds, inhalants, coffee, and cigarettes.

Many of these things can be found easily attainable which is how they can lead to being abused. Of course, the most dangerous drugs are the ones that are obviously illegal, but plenty of others can be secret killers.

Synthetic drugs are now all the rage these days as well. These can lead from synthetic marijuana to bath salts. Anabolic steroids are also commonly abused. They are meant to treat illnesses but instead are used to help with muscle enhancement.

Causing you to harm is what can lead to substance abuse. Pretty much any substance can be abused which is why the conversation varies.

Is Alcohol A Drug

Alcohol can alter your mind, so it is considered a drug. It is totally legal if you are over the age of 21 in the United States. But that doesn’t mean it cannot be abused. Drinking harmfully can be easy because once people stop it can be difficult to stop drinking.

Binge drinking is considered alcohol abuse even if you do it rarely. If you have drunk to excess, then you have actually abused alcohol.

Substance use may not necessarily mean abuse, but it can easily lead to it. That’s why you should always be careful when using any substance.


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