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Substance Abuse as a Mental Disorder

“Alcohol is the cause and the solution to many of life's problems.” Dan Castellaneta

It is absolutely true that the world, we are living in, is full of things having both good and evil origins. The whole life we spend on balancing between these two points, trying to find the border line between them.

Sometimes this border is rather wide and distinct and sometimes it is like a razor blade and it is a real challenge for a person to find that very point, defining the place where good ends and evil starts.

Though this issue seems to be purely philosophic, it is not always so. Let us take substance abuse, for example. A whisky drink can be very effective in relaxing a person after a hard day with dozens of stresses, but the same drink can kill a person when it is thirteenth or fourteenth for the last 60 minutes.

The issue of substance abuse is covered by the medicine, one of the most precise and accurate sciences. Though there are many philosophic approaches to defining the border between normal substance consumption and their abuse (one of them says that you are not drunk if you can still lie on the floor without holding it:), medicine has developed quite understandable and clear signs for the situation when normal consumption of alcohol or some other substances develops into serious mental disorder, called substance abuse.

Below I will describe those signs in short for every person to be aware of such very guileful substances, but at first I would like to name them. So, substances, which are undoubtedly a part of human living, but the abuse of which can lead one to doctor's office as a minimum and to hell as a maximum, are: - alcohol (wine, whiskey, gin, vodka, beer and everything that has “alc...%vol” mark on the label) - tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, cigars, or pipe tobacco) - drugs (illicit drugs, like cocaine, heroine or marijuana, and certain medications, like opioids, barbiturates, anabolic steroids etc.)

Alcohol abuse According to the statistics, more than 50% of all Americans drink alcohol. About 7.6% of US people are classified as persons with alcohol abuse symptoms. In order not to fall into their number, everyone should remember that alcohol abuse starts when a person drinks more then 4 drinks per day or on average 2 drinks in 7 or 30 days period. To ease the calculations, you should remember that one standard drink is one 12 ounce (340g) beer or one 5 ounce (141g) glass of wine or one 1.5 ounce (42.5g) shot of distilled spirits.

Tobacco abuse Tobacco is the second most commonly used substance in the USA next to alcohol. About 25 % of people aged 12 and older smoke cigarettes as the most popular form of tobacco. Actually, speaking about tobacco abuse, there is no “border”, standing between good and bad sides of this substance consumption. It is always bad. But it can become even worse if a person smokes more than one pack of cigarettes a day.

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Drug abuse This condition affects about 8 % of Americans and implies the use of illicit narcotics: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and the non-medical use of prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives.

Speaking about drugs, commonly known as Mary Jane, Big O, brown sugar and other illicit substances, they are all one-side coin, having only negative side and no positive one. (Of course, this definition does not work in Netherlands).

Finally, abuse of medications can be defined as the use of certain medical substances in situations other than described in the prescription with the aim to feel oneself like being on cloud #9 with favorite Hollywood celebrity.

In the long run, all the above said has only one mission: to show people the border in common substances use, behind which it turns into evil with serious health problems prospects.


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