What Is Substance Abuse?

Learn all about substance abuse from Dr. Paul Hokemeyer in this Howcast video.

Substance abuse is typically used interchangeably with drug abuse, but substance abuse’s can refer to something different. So very often people take substances, like household cleaners or chemicals and they ingest them, they huff them. Say gasoline, they huff gasoline to get a high. So somebody’s using a substance that’s not intended for the purpose that it was created to catch a buzz and get high. What happens with this is people expose themselves to negative consequences. So they’re inhaling something and it’s having a negative impact on their brain.

It’s having a negative impact on their lungs and it’s causing negative consequences in their life. Substance abuse can occur where somebody uses just on the weekends or they use a couple times a month. So they’re not constantly using the drug. They’re not dependent upon the drug, but they’re using it in an abusive way. The abuse comes then to their own bodies, because they’re ingesting something into their bodies that causes either physical or mental harm to them. So the difference here is that the person is not dependent upon it. They don’t need it per se, but they use it in a way that it was not intended and in a way that ultimately, is going to negative consequences on their life.