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Division of Behavioral Health Services

Substance Addiction

The American Psychiatric Association lists alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, narcotics, nicotine, and many other chemicals as addictive substances. People are considered chemically dependent if they meet three or more of the following criteria during a 12-month period:

  • Needing more of the substance to "feel good" or achieve intoxication
  • Having withdrawal symptoms after stopping use or using the substance to avoid those symptoms (see the link for withdrawal symptoms for alcohol, cocaine, narcotics and nicotine below)
  • Using more of the substance than usual, or for longer than intended
  • Continuing desire for the substance or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop using it
  • Spending a lot of time to obtain, use, or recover from the substance
  • Giving up or cutting back on important social, work-related, or recreational activities
  • Continuing to use the substance even though it's causing problems

What causes addiction? The National Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse calls addiction "a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal."

Overcoming addiction - Addiction seems to come from interplay of emotional, genetic, and learned factors. No matter what the cause, people who are involved in any addiction - and their loved ones - need professional help. Recovery of any addiction is possible, especially at early stages of the addiction.

Helpful Links:

AddictionWithdrawal.com not only provides a list of the withdrawal symptoms of a variety of substances, but it also has a toll-free number for free assistance.

The Agape Center provides a substance abuse treatment facility locator for Arizona.

AddictionSearch.comdelivers “the latest addiction information on the Internet,” a list of Arizona drug and alcohol rehab programs and addiction treatment centers, and offers counselors 24 hours a day.

SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, offers treatment locators, information by topic, programs, publications, FAQs, and much more.

CSAT, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, is a division of SAMHSA that “…promotes the quality and availability of community-based substance abuse treatment services for individuals and families who need them.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) delivers educational resources based on audience group – including students and young adults, parents, and teachers, etc. – as well as by substance.

NCADI is SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Information where you can get the latest information on the prevention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders.