According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), substance abuse is characterized as, “a pattern of substance use leading to significant impairment or distress” (American Psychological Association [APA], 2013, para. 1). Table one of the DSM on Criteria for Substance Abuse and Dependency notes impairment or distress manifest in one or more of the following ways, in a 12 month period: “Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, and home, frequent use of substances in situations in which it is physically hazardous, frequent legal problems, and continued use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems.”(APA, 2013, para. 1). Examples of these impairments or distress are as followed in accordance to the DSM, “repeated absences or poor work performance, suspensions, expulsions, and neglect of children or household as a result of substance abuse, driving an automobile or operating machinery when impaired by substance use, an arrest or disorderly conduct as a result of substance use, and physical and/or verbal arguments with a spouse about consequences intoxication.” (APA, 2013, para. 1). All of these are examples that fit the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for substance abuse.
The DSM characterizes substance abuse and substance dependence as two separate social problems. Both are characterized as a significant impairment or distress. Substance abuse is defined as a pattern during a twelve-month period of one or more of the following examples previously stated, while substance dependence is defined as a dependence of three or more. These three or more forms of impairment and distress for substance dependence are further defined as including, “withdraw symptoms, the use of a substance in larger amounts or over a loner period then intended, unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use, involvement in chronic behavior to obtain the substance, reduction or abandonment of social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use, and use of the substance even though there is a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to be caused or exacerbated by the substance.”(APA, para. 2). Imagine a substance becoming your life, spouse, family, best friend, your everything- this is dependence.
Outside of these definitions and criteria’s there are other factors and demographics to substance abuse and dependence. When analyzing the demographics there is a prevalence of youth experimenting with drugs and alcohol during adolescence. This prevalence was recorded in the book “Addictive Behaviors” which reviews the risk and protective factors of substance and problems in emerging adulthood. This experimentation with substances in adolescence is an important risk factor to substance abuse because it often reaches its crowning prevalence in adolescents facing early to emerging adulthood. In a...