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Patricia Escudero Rotman, Ph. D., LCSW, Clinical Psychologist (Arg.)

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Substance-Related Disorders

Substance- related disorders include abuse and dependence of drugs (e.g. cocaine), medication (e.g. corticoids) , or toxins (e.g. paint). The diagnostic criterion for dependence on a substance includes the presence of tolerance, withdrawal symptoms if the drug is discontinued and the compulsive use of the drug with the associated loss of control.

Substance Abuse refers to a maladaptive pattern of use that leads to recurrent negative consequences to the person’s life. These problems may include strained interpersonal relationships, putting one’s own work at risk, having legal repercussions, neglecting family or household responsibilities, engaging in risky recreational behavior, etc.

The more effective treatment for Substance- Related Disorders is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This treatment modality could include not only individual but also group therapy. Twelve Steps Groups (AA, NA) are also highly helpful to obtain and maintain abstinence. Some people who suffer from Substance-Related Disorders prefer to attempt Harm Reduction interventions first before choosing to abstain from substances. Schema Therapy has also been shown to be helpful as many sufferers may present personality disorders.