Once used as a diagnostic label, substance abuse typically refers to behavioral patterns of drug use that involve impairment and physical and mental distress. Some people may use the term “drug abuse” to reference a marked physical and mental dependence on drugs. Today, drug abuse typically refers to misusing substances, not necessarily being addicted to them. However, drug abuse can often lead to a physical dependence or addiction associated with a focus on obtaining and using drugs and severe withdrawal symptoms.
In the case of expectant mothers who drink, future healthcare costs double, now including both the mother and child. For example, a child born with fetal alcohol syndrome could require special schooling. Not only is this a personal and unnecessary family tragedy but also it stands to impact the social system financially in the form of healthcare and education for years.
Drug addiction is defined as a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.3 It is possible to be physically dependent upon a drug without having an addiction to the substance. However, when addiction is an issue, the negative consequences experienced during drug abuse become overwhelming, which makes it impossible for the patient to function in relationships with others, at work, at school or in the community.
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Woman Turns to Rehab After Struggling With Drugs, Alcohol: Part 1