1Running head: SUBSTANCE ABUSE OR SUBSTANCE DEPENDENCE? Substance Abuse or Substance Dependence Roberta Simpkin Substance Abuse and the Family PSY481-UB – M1:A3 Argosy University
2Substance Abuse or Substance Dependence? Substance abuse has become one of our biggest and most important socialproblems in our society today. There are programs today in our schools and in ourcommunities aimed at preventing this disease. In our schools here, it is a topic of utmostpriority and talked about most frequently. There are “three different terms used to define substance-related disorders;substance abuse, substance dependence, and chemical dependence. Substance abuserefers to the misuse of a drug, whether legal or illegal”, (Yale Medical Group). “Itscontinued use will mar our friendships and/or our family relationships. Substancedependence is continuing to use a drug even though it is shown that significant problemshave developed related to their use. The term chemical dependence refers to thecompulsive use of chemicals (drugs or alcohol) and the inability to stop using themdespite all the problems they cause”, (Yale Medical Group). Substances “most abused by adolescents include, but are not limited to, alcohol,marijuana, and cocaine”, (Yale Medical Group). To look at what causes substance abuse/chemical dependence, “we have to look atthe cultural and societal norms that influence acceptable standards of substance use.Substance-related disorders in adolescence are caused by many factors, which include butnot limited to; social pressures, individual personality characteristics, and psychiatricproblems”, (Yale Medical Group). “Two factors that contribute to a youth’s decision regarding substance use areparental use and peer pressure. Some adolescents are more at risk of developing
3Substance Abuse or Substance Dependence?substance-related disorders, such as children of substance abusers, adolescents who arevictims of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, adolescents with mental healthproblems, especially depressed and suicidal teens”, (Yale Medical Group). “Therefore, substance abuse describes the social consequences and substancedependence describes the physical and emotional symptoms”, (Argosy, 2010). Our subject is named Jose. Jose “initially said he used cocaine only on the weekends.Now he uses it everyday. He spends most of his paycheck on his cocaine use. His wifethreatens to divorce him, and he is close to being fired from his job for under-performing.Yet, he continues to use cocaine”, (Argosy, 2010). Is Jose’s behavior evident of substance abuse, substance dependence, orchemical dependence? My viewpoint regarding Jose’s cocaine addiction is that he isincapable of stopping this behavior alone nor does he sound like he wants to change. Iwould consider Jose’s behavior to be evident of substance abuse because “his lifedescribes a pattern of significant problems in his life, which includes failure to attend tohis performance at work, relational difficulties with his family, and the misuse of anillegal substance, cocaine”, (Argosy, 2010).
4Substance Abuse or Substance Dependence? What category of substances does cocaine fall under, and what are theimplications of this category on the body? “Cocaine is a stimulant. The implications of this category on the body can bedevastating. The regular presence of cocaine, or any drug will distort Jose’s ability tothink rationally and nurture important relationships. Over time, Jose will distort what thefamily considers “normal.” Unfortunately, each member of the family must develop anindividual method of coping with the neglect, abuse, indifference, or other responses byJose”, (Argosy, 2010). My opinion for what Jose needs to break his habit and abstain from cocaine use,is to attend rehabilitation and a support group. In fact, the whole family would benefit byattending a support group. What Jose needs is professional help. What Jose needs is substance abuse treatmentand the whole family needs family therapy. “Family therapy in substance abusetreatment has two main purposes: (1) to use the family’s strengths and resources to helpfind or develop ways to live without substances of abuse, and (2) to ameliorate the impactof chemical dependency on both the identified patient and the family”, (Argosy, 2010). “Substance abuse brings the greatest damage to the lives of those people whom theabuser is closest to. This is because the abuser caught up in relying on a substance that
5becomes a case of substance abuse is less available to the people they should be caringfor”, (Argosy, 2010).Substance Abuse or Substance Dependence? “The regular presence of any drug will distort the user’s ability to think rationally andnurture important relationships”, (Argosy, 2010). “In family therapy, the unit of treatment is the family, and/or the individual within thecontext of the family system. The person abusing substances is regarded as a subsystemwithin the family, the person whose symptoms have serious implications for the familysystem”, (Argosy, 2010). The “effects of substance abuse are widespread and it is slowly destroying the lives ofthose closest to the problem — the family members of the addict. Substance abusewreaks the greatest damage in the lives of those closest to the person abusing substances.This is so because, in many cases, substance use is an alternate way of coping with thepressures and stress of life. But it is a maladaptive way of coping. The more Jose relieson cocaine to cope with his problems, the less available he will be to his family, thepeople he should be caring for.” (Argosy, 2010). “There are a variety of treatment programs for substance abuse that Jose wouldbenefit from, programs that are available on an inpatient or outpatient basis.Detoxification (if needed, based on the substance abused) and long-term follow-upmanagement are important features of successful treatment. Long-term follow-upmanagement usually includes formalized group meetings and developmentally age-
6Substance Abuse or Substance Dependence?appropriate psychosocial support systems, as well as continued medical supervision”,(Argosy, 2010). “Individual and family psychotherapy are often recommended to address thedevelopmental, psychosocial, and family issues that may have contributed to and resultedfrom the development of a substance abuse disorder”, (Argosy, 2010).
7Substance Abuse or Substance Dependence? ReferencesArgosy University (2010). PSY481-UB: Substance abuse and the family, Module 1, Online Lecture, Retrieved on September 9, 2010, from: http://www.myeclassonline.comYale School of Medicine (2010). Yale Medical Group, Module 1 Online Lecture, Retrieved on September 9, 2010, from: http://www.myeclassonline.com