When substance use becomes a problem
Problematic substance use (Substance Abuse)
- Short term pleasure is a more powerful reinforcer than mid or long term consequences.
- Substance use continues even after it has caused significant social, occupational, legal, psychological and physical problems.
- Any substance or experience that produces activation of midbrain dopamine circuitry, producing rapid euphoria, may become problematic
- Addiction is characterized by increased tolerance, a need to use more and more of the substance to achieve the same effect.
- And by withdrawal, especially when more of the same substance is needed to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
- And by almost constant craving, so that more and more time is spent finding the substance, using the substance, and recovering from its effects.
Dan O’Connell, Ph.D., from presentation