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Substance Dependence

Substance dependence, also known as substance addiction or substance use disorder, is a condition characterized by the repeated and compulsive use of a substance despite negative consequences. This term is commonly associated with the misuse of psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, prescription medications, and illegal drugs.

Several criteria define substance dependence, and they are typically outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM-5, as of my last knowledge update in January 2022, is the latest edition and provides criteria for diagnosing substance use disorders, which include substance dependence.

Key features of substance dependence include:

  1. Tolerance: The need for increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the desired effect or a diminished effect with continued use of the same amount.

  2. Withdrawal: The presence of withdrawal symptoms when the individual reduces or stops using the substance. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance but can include physical and psychological discomfort.

  3. Loss of Control: Individuals with substance dependence often find it challenging to control their use of the substance, leading to compulsive and frequent consumption.

  4. Failed Attempts to Quit: Persistent desire and unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.

  5. Significant Time Spent: A significant amount of time spent in activities related to obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of the substance.

  6. Neglect of Other Activities: Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.

  7. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: Continued substance use despite being aware of persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems that are likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.

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