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If an individual has a problem with alcohol, cigarette, prescription drugs like painkillers, passivators, soporofics or anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants used in attention deficit/hyperactivity; solvents in glues and other adhesive substances, sprayers, thinners; some mushroom and cactus types; hashish, cocaine and heroin, this means he has a substance abuse disorder. This problem may be due to family, interpersonal or social contexts, work, school, law or money as well as physical or psychological health.

Substance use disorder is described in Reference Guidebook of Diagnosis Criteria of Diagnostic and Quantitative Guidebook of Psychological Disorders 5th Edition published by American Psychiatry Association in 2013 as such:

  1. A problematic substance use pattern causing an explicit clinical trouble or decrease in functionality revealing itself with at least two of the following within a-12-month period.
  2. Generally, more substance is used or the substance is used longer than desired.
  3. A continuous desire to quit or control using the substance and efforts yielding no result.
  4. Too much time for having and using the substance and getting over its influence.
  5. Desiring or craving for the substance and feeling compelled to use it.
  6. Repeating substance use leading to non-fulfilment of primary duties at work, school or home.
  7. Despite the continuous or repeating social or inter-personal problems the substance cause or increase, continuing substance use.
  8. Abandonment of or decrease in some important social, working, entertaining and recreational activities due to substance use.
  9. Substance use in dangerous situations repeatedly.
  10. Despite the continuous or repeating physical or psychological problem the substance probably causes or increases, continuing substance use.
  11. As described with one of the following, having high tolerance:
    • The need to use substance in increasing amounts to have the ecstasy or desired effect.
    • To have definitely less effect despite taking the same amount in.
  12. As described with one of the following, having high deprivation:
    • Deprivation syndrome specific for the substance.
    • The substance (or a closely related one) is used to escape or avoid deprivation signs.



Even though so many substances may cause addiction, most frequent ones are alcohol, cigarette, hashish, cocaine and heroin. According to statements, nearly 17% of those who live in developed countries and are older than 12 years old have a substance disorder and nearly three-quarter of them have an alcohol-related disorder. It has been found that those who begin using substance before 14 have the higher potential of addiction, especially for the alcohol. Many people have addiction for two or more substances.



There is not only one reason for alcohol and substance addiction. Various factors about human biology, psychology, sociology and environment may cause the addiction and these factors depend on the individual.

In some families, there are so many members having alcohol problem, which makes experts think this is a hereditary tendency. However, any kind of specific genetic element (gene) handing alcohol or substance addiction down to other generations cannot be found yet. It is thought that some factors about brain chemistry causes tendency to substance use.

As a matter of psychological principle, people use substances just to get relaxed when they are tense or anxious or escape some bad feelings such as depression or collapse, which makes them addicted to substances. Some other people are inclined to use substances and have addiction eventually as a matter of their characteristics. 35-60% of people with substance use disorder meet the diagnosis criteria for anti-social personality disorder. And some of them may have psychological disorders leading to an inclination for substance use. Nearly half of those with substance use disorder are found to have another psychological disorder. Nearly 40% of people with alcohol disorder meet the criteria for depression in a specific time in their lives and three-quarter or half of people with opiate use disorder meet the criteria for depression in a specific time in their lives. Families and social circles may influence people’s behaviors including substance use behaviors. One’s attitude for using substance may be influenced by his ability to access the substance, friend-zone, his model parents and the society’s values.

In developing alcohol and substance addiction, not just one but more factors may probably have effect on the behavior. On the other hand, factors leading to substance use and addiction may completely differ from each other. Accurate description and identification of factors involved would be beneficial during the recovery process.


Identification of Substance Use Disorder Problem

Substance use disorders are grouped into two: Substance use disorders and disorders led by the substance. Disorders led by substance can be listed as such: Ecstasy (drunkenness, being under the effect of substance), deprivation and psychological disorders led by substance/drug (psychotic disorders, bipolar and related disorders, depression disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunctions, delirium and neuro-cognitive disorders).

Substance use disorder is defined as a substance use pattern leading to a clinically definite problem, decreased functionality or ecstasy within a period of 12 months.

Ecstasy by substance is defined as a substance-specific, clinical case with recourse which can be attributed to having a substance in the recent past. During or a short time after substance use, clinically important but problematic behaviors or psychological changes such as kinetic coordination disorder, psychological-kinetic incitement or deceleration, fervor, anxiety, belligerency, mood swing, cognitive disorder, judging disorder, isolation from the society that may be attributed to the effect of the substance on central nervous system, arise.

Substance deprivation is defined as a clinical case occurred in a short time after quitting a substance used extensively and for a long time (or decreasing)

Tolerance is defined as the need for using substance in increasing amounts to have the ecstasy mind or desired effect or else substance’s definitely less effect on the individual despite being used in the same amount.