Alcohol and Other Drug Problems


Some students find that their alcohol/substance use becomes problematic. Below are definitions of substance abuse and substance dependence, including signs/symptoms. If you see yourself in either of these definitions, Counseling Services and the Wellness Center staff can help you with this.

Substance Abuse is defined as a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one (or more) of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:

  • Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home (i.e. repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school).
  • Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (i.e. driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance use).
  • Recurrent substance-related legal problems.
  • Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems.

Addiction or Substance Dependence is defined as a pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:

  • Tolerance as defined by either of the following: (1) The need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or the desired effect; or (2) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
  • Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: (1) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance; or (2) The same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than 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 use.
  • The use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem.

*Remember: There is danger of death by alcohol poisoning. Opiates are especially dangerous in overdose.

Other Resources:

Signs of Problem Drinking
State and Local Alcohol and Drug Laws
BAC Card
Effects of BAC
BAC Resource
Sipping Skills & Low-Risk Drinking
Alcohol Emergencies
Other Drug Information