The term, substance abuse, refers primarily to the recreational use of drugs and is not considered a disorder unless it impairs social or occupational functioning. Drug dependence, a disorder ordinarily resulting from the repeated use of drugs, is manifested in a strong desire to continue taking the drug, either for the pleasant sensations that might result of to escape feelings of withdrawal. The APA distinguishes between physiological dependence, commonly called addiction, in which the desire to continue taking the drug is at least partly organically based, and psychological dependence, sometimes called habituation, in which the desire to continue taking the drug has to do mainly with its psychological rather than its physiological effects. Drug tolerance refers to changes that occur in the user so that with the passage of time more and more of the drug is required to produce the desired effect. The most commonly abused drugs are narcotics (e.g., opium, morphine, heroin, codeine, methadone), sedatives (e.g., barbiturates, tranquilizers, alcohol), stimulants (e.g., cocaine, crack, amphetamines), hallucinogens (e.g., LSD, PCP, mescaline, psiolcybin, marijuana), inhalants (e.g., glue, paint thinner, aerosol sprays, solvents), unclassified (e.g., nicotine), and "designer" drugs (any of a combination of chemicals and drugs, often manufactured by amateur chemists).
People related to the topic: Substance abuse
Susan M. Adams, Ph.D.
Professor of Nursing, Emerita
Malcolm Avison, Ph.D.
Professor of Radiology & Radiological Sciences, Neurology, and Pharmacology
William F Caul, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, College of Arts and Science
Karen D'Apolito, Ph.D., R.N.
Professor of Nursing, Director of Neonatology Program
Christine Konradi, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Peter Martin, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Pharmacology; Director, Vanderbilt Addiction Center
Robert Matthews, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics; Advanced Microscopy Core Manager, Basic Neuroscience Services Core
Elaine Sanders-Bush, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology, Professor of Psychiatry, Emerita
Back to the topic index