Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Mental Health
People have been using substances over millennia to alter their state of being. Substance abuse, however, is a major health and social problem in the United States and many other societies. Addiction is a chronic progressive illness with a predictable pattern and outcomes. People with addictive disorders exchange short-term pleasure or relief at the expense of long-term effects. There are significant health, social, and interpersonal risks associated with addictive disorders, while self-destructive behaviors are a major component of the disorder. As an addictive disorder progresses, the patients’ behavior narrows around the use and procurement of the substance. The disease is maintained by denial, projection, and rationalization of the behaviors.