What is substance abuse? Learn about the most abused substances and the patterns and types of substance abuse our culture faces today.

Substance abuse is a clinical diagnosis in the DSMIV and ICD10 and is defined as the excessive use of a substance in a way other than what is was intended. Substance use disorders are a medical condition and require professional medical treatment.

Most Used Substances

The top five substances used by physicians are:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Marijuana
  3. Prescription opiates like hydrocodone
  4. Stimulants like Adderrall, amphetamines, or Ritalin
  5. Cocaine

Patterns of Abuse

The following are patterns of behavior that can indicate a substance abuse issue:

  • Failing to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home
  • Substance use in relation to physically hazardous conditions
  • Legal problems in conjunction with substance use
  • Continued substance use in light of social or interpersonal problems caused by the effects of the substance

Types of Abuse

There are many types of abuse other than substance abuse. These can include:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Financial Abuse

Other Terminology

Substance abuse may also be referred to as drug abuse, drug use, alcohol abuse, substance use disorder, misuse, harmful use, inappropriate use, hazardous use, problem use, risky use.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.