Substance Abuse: What is Chemical Dependency

The definition of chemical dependency changes depending on who you ask.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency says “Alcoholism exist when drinking continually interferes with any major area of a person’s life.”

Alcoholics Anonymous says “Alcoholism is a two-fold disease-an allergy of the body coupled with an obsession of the mind. It is cunning, baffling, and powerful.”

The American Medical Association definition – “Chemical Dependency is an illness characterized by preoccupation with alcohol or drugs and loss of control of its consumption. It is typically associated with physical disability and impaired emotional, occupational and /or social adjustment as a direct consequence of excessive use.”

We will define Chemical Dependency as a term referring to the harmful dependence on mood-altering chemicals, including alcohol. It is characterized by gradual and progressive loss of control over the use of a substance. It often includes obsessive (thoughts) and compulsive (actions) behaviors. It usually has a negative impact on a person’s mental, emotional, family, spiritual, social, economic, physical, and/or legal aspect of his/her life.

It is important to remember that chemical dependency is identified not so much on the amount or frequency of consumption, but rather on the behavior of the person and the consequences of the usage.

Basically it does not matter how much or how often, but what happens when you do use.

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