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Substance Use vs. Abuse

So I’m studying all of the psychoactive drug groups and their accompanying behavioral properties in my Behavioral Neuroscience class, and I came across a fallacy in my instructor’s PowerPoint Presentation. She had written this:

Substance abuse = a pattern in which a person relies on a drug chronically and excessively for the psychological and behavioral changes the drug produces.

I can’t tell you how much I disagree with that statement/definition. That defines substance use, not abuse. By that definition alone, that would mean that every person who counts on his or her daily antidepressant to make those necessary biochemical, physiological changes in both their brains and behaviors are “addicts”. This is so untrue.

Keeping in mind that I have my CPC in Substance Abuse (from Vincennes University), I’ve created my own definition of substance abuse, and it’s as follows:

Substance abuse= destructive behaviors that accompany the drug-user in which he and others are affected in negative ways.

Very simple.

Just because somebody takes a drug regularly- with hopes of behavioral and psychological changes (even chronically/daily or “excessively”)- does not make that person a substance abuser.  The word “excessively” is a tricky one because what is excessive to one person will not be to another. Some people take one Ibuprofin- some take 5. Every person’s body is different and each person’s drug use is both circumstantial and situational. I think we really need to be careful labeling a person as a drug abuser if he or she continues taking a drug for holistic/homeopathic, and or medicinal reasons.

Back to your scheduled program. 🙂

(Don’t worry peeps- it’s only toilet paper from a ‘toilet paper challenge” I hosted at a photo site once.) 

10 responses

  1. Only toilet paper, eh? Ok, then I won’t inhale. 😉

    Good catch on the definition – incredibly sloppy work on the part of whomever put together the powerpoint.

    February 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    • I know, right? She’s one of the best professor’s I’ve ever had, so I think she may have used somebody else’s definition, but still. Scary to think that crap is being pimped out in our college textbooks! And yes. It’s only toilet paper…heheh. (Around my head too.) I quit smoking weed 8 years ago and have regretted it ever since- ha.

      February 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      • If I may be nosey, and you can say “I have my reasons” and leave it at that, but why don’t you restart if you regret quitting?

        February 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      • Well, I was sort of joking. 😉 If I did regret it “enough”, believe me, I would. I’ll always be pro-weed! That’ll never change. I spent my youth as a stoner- 18 years solid, in fact- and some of my best days were spent after I’d toked up! So, I’ll never slag on anyone for doing it. But for me personally, I needed to change my M.O. because I just wasn’t getting done what I needed to get done in my life. I no longer get “high”, but I do take whatever medicinal remedies I see fit- incorporated with a healthy regimen of vitamins, etc., of course. Health (spiritual, mental, and physical) remain top priorities, naturally.

        But there you have it, Maggie! I don’t mind sharing at all. ;0) That said, I’ll always be a stoner at heart…heheh.

        February 21, 2015 at 4:14 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing that. While I am Pro-use, I get my mood altering substances from the grape.

    February 21, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    • I get mine from the earth! (But the grape too, occasionally). I think God knew what he was doing when He created all sorts of psychoactive mood-altering substances. ;0)

      February 21, 2015 at 4:29 pm

  3. I do like your definition much better, actually. I remember learning that behaviors move into the neighborhood of being “disorders” (such as substance abuse) when they start to interfere with social and occupational functioning. In many cases, taking medications regularly helps to improve social and occupational functioning.

    P.S. I LOVE this picture!!! 😀

    February 21, 2015 at 6:51 pm

  4. yes. it is incorrect.
    I’ve lived with addiction for most of my life. food/sex/drugs/alcohol/relationships.
    and for me addiction is a way of avoiding my feelings…
    …and that comes from suppression of feelings in childhood.
    the suppression creates the then strong emotions in my adult life.
    unfortunately these strong feelings are still with me.

    February 21, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    • I understand that well, Gav. it’s highly unlikely that people (like us) who have experienced trauma to the degrees that we have, won’t have any type of addictions. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. We have an extra battle on our hands! (Or two, or three…heheh.) But battle we do, and we do battle on. These things will probably always be something we wrestle with, but that’s part of our (unique) walk. And, in the end, it too defines us and makes us who we are. And that’s not such a bad thing. x

      February 21, 2015 at 9:32 pm


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