Kathi Whitten, LCSW - Individual, Couple & Family Psychotherapy

If you think that you, or someone you care about, might be having a substance abuse problem, here is a generic list of things to look for (based on criteria in DSM IV). You may need to seek advice or further information about the particular substance you are concerned with:


* Tolerance—either a need for increased amounts of the substance or markedly diminished effect with continued use
* Withdrawal, manifested by either:

The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the particular substance being used or
the same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms

* The Substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended
* There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use
* A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects
* Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use
* The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance