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Substances: use and abuse: Home

Did you know...?

  • Alcohol is the most commonly used substance and causes the biggest burden of harm. 
  • In 2007, prescription pain medications like Vicodin and OxyContin were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
  • Mixing pills with other drugs or with alcohol increases your risk of death from accidental overdose.
  • Cannabis Remains the most widely used drug among youth.
  • Meth reduces the amount of protective saliva around the teeth. People who use meth also tend to drink a log of sugary soda, neglect personal hygiene, grind their teeth, and clench their jaws – all of which can cause what’s known as “meth mouth.

Refrence: Rawson, R.A. et. al (2007). The matrix model: intensive outpatient alcohol and drug treatment: a 16-week individualized program: therapist manual. Hazeldene: Minnesota.

Welcome!

The aim of this guide is to inform you about various substances and their associated risks by providing general information on main substance categories, screening and assessment tools, DSM criteria for diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, evidence-based treatment approaches, as well as useful links to various resources that will further develop your knowledge about substances.  

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The aim of this guide is to inform you about various substances and their associated risks by providing general information on main substance categories, screening and assessment tools, DSM criteria for diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, evidence-based treatment approaches, as well as useful links to various resources that will further develop your knowledge about substances.  

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The aim of this guide is to inform you about various substances and their associated risks by providing general information on main substance categories, screening and assessment tools, DSM criteria for diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, evidence-based treatment approaches, as well as useful links to various resources that will further develop your knowledge about substances.  

Thumbnail

The aim of this guide is to inform you about various substances and their associated risks by providing general information on main substance categories, screening and assessment tools, DSM criteria for diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, evidence-based treatment approaches, as well as useful links to various resources that will further develop your knowledge about substances.  

Thumbnail

The aim of this guide is to inform you about various substances and their associated risks by providing general information on main substance categories, screening and assessment tools, DSM criteria for diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, evidence-based treatment approaches, as well as useful links to various resources that will further develop your knowledge about substances.  

Thumbnail

The aim of this guide is to inform you about various substances and their associated risks by providing general information on main substance categories, screening and assessment tools, DSM criteria for diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, evidence-based treatment approaches, as well as useful links to various resources that will further develop your knowledge about substances.  

Thumbnail

The aim of this guide is to inform you about various substances and their associated risks by providing general information on main substance categories, screening and assessment tools, DSM criteria for diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, evidence-based treatment approaches, as well as useful links to various resources that will further develop your knowledge about substances.  

Thumbnail

The aim of this guide is to inform you about various substances and their associated risks by providing general information on main substance categories, screening and assessment tools, DSM criteria for diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, evidence-based treatment approaches, as well as useful links to various resources that will further develop your knowledge about substances.  

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Classification of Substances

Substances can be divided into 3 main categories:

  • Stimulants 
  • Depressants
  • Hallucinogens

There are, however, those substances that do not fit neatly into either of these categories. These include cannabis, mandrax, and ecstasy, which will be grouped under the category 'other' as these often display signs and symptoms associated with all three of the above categories.

Substances can be further categorized into several groups:

  • Amphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Inhalants
  • Alcohol
  • Sedatives

Stimulants are also referred to as "uppers, elevates the central nervous system, cognition and physical performance. These substances tend to temporarily increase the user's level alertness, energy, attention, heart-rate, respiration and blood pressure.

Stimulants include:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Inhalants
  • Nicotine
  • Caffeine 

Reference

Depressants, also referred to as "downers", directly contrasts stimulants by slowing down central nervous system activity. Users tend to experience a state of lethargy, slowed heart-rate, and brain activity. These substances are often found in medications used to treat mental illness, alleviate pain, and treat other disorders such as anxiety and insomnia.

Depressants include:
•Alcohol
•Opioids
•Sedatives

Reference

Hallucinogens are substances associated with hallucinations and distortions in one's perception of reality, thoughts and feelings - the user may see images, hear sounds, feel or experience sensations that feel real to the user though they do not exist. People have also reported experiencing a disconnection from their body or the environment and a loss of control.

Hallucinogens include:

  • LSD
  • Acid
  • PCP
  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Special K

Reference

These are substances that do not clearly fit into any of the before mentioned categories as many of the effects the user experiences overlaps with those of stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens.

These include:

  • Cannabis
  • Ecstasy
  • Mandrax

Subject Guide

Anastashia Naidoo's picture
Anastashia Naidoo
Contact:
Department of Library and Information Science

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