Description, Effects, and Sociological Theory of Substance Abuse

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Substance Abuse: A Public Health Problem
Description, Effects, and Sociological Theory
Substance abuse and addiction is a major public health problem that has a grave impact upon multiple levels of our society. Every community and every family is either directly or indirectly affected by substance abuse and addiction. This essay takes a look at this massive social problem and the extent to which it affects our country and its citizens and will also explore different causes of addiction.

A. Description

Addiction can affect a person of any age group, though most analysts gather data on the population of those age 12 and over. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), describes substance abuse as an abnormal pattern of substance use that leads to clinical impairment or distress that manifests itself with the following within a 12 month period: 1. Repeated substance use that results in a failure to meet obligations at work, school, or responsibilities at home. 2. Repeated use of a substance even during situations proven to be physically dangerous. 3. Continual legal problems related to the use of a substance. 4. Sustained use despite social or personal problems caused by a substance use. (American Psychiatric Association, 2000)

We see two aspects that must be present in order for a behavior to be considered addictive. First, the behavior must be counter-productive to the individual. It will actually inhibit a person from overcoming difficult situations or dealing with problems. Secondly, the behavior is continual and persistent. The addicted individual will continue to engage in the behavior despite the fact that it is causing him or her harm or hardship. B. Effects on the United States

As individuals are less able to control their impulsive behaviors, we see many glaring…...

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