Substance abuse is a pattern of repeated use of alcohol, drugs, or both, even though this use causes unpleasant or distressing events in the user's life.
A person has a substance abuse problem if one or more of the following have occurred within the past 12 months.
Someone who has a substance abuse problem may suffer serious withdrawal symptoms if he or she stops drinking alcohol or using a drug suddenly ("cold turkey"). After dependency develops, it may become very difficult to stop drinking or using a drug without outside help. Medical detoxification may be needed.
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