Substance Use Disorders affect approximately 7.7% of Australian adults.
Substance abuse includes alcohol dependence, cannabis, stimulants, sedatives and opioids.
It is considered that 25% of men and 50% of women with substance use disorders have an underlying depression and / or anxiety . A substance can be anything that is ingested in order to produce a high, alter one’s senses, or otherwise affect mood, perception and consciousness.
Substance use can be common in young people, and individuals have different patterns of use (bingeing, occasional or continual) and reasons for use (for example as an ‘experiment’, for ‘fun’ or to ‘escape’, to ‘join in’ with peers, or to get through a certain situation- such as the desire to stay awake). Where use is prolonged, heavy, or creating social or personal problems it may meet a ‘diagnosis’ for a substance use disorder: substance dependence or substance abuse (1).
In substance abuse a person experiences harmful changes in their behaviour as a result of repeatedly using a substance, that negatively affects their work/school responsibilities, social relationships, and can lead to increased risk taking and other personal or social problems. In substance dependence, a person relies on a substance despite the problems caused by continuing its use. In addition to the social and personal problems of substance abuse, dependence leads also to cognitive, behavioural and physical symptoms if a person continues using.
Youth Drug Fact Sheet
Substance use often exists together with other mental illness.
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