chemical dependency
drug compulsion
alcoholism, alcoholic, addict
drug addiction
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Chemical Dependency

Clinical Characteristics:

1. Drug compulsion  chemical dependency,alcoholism,drug addtion,drug use

  • a. preoccupation with obtaining and using drug of choice
  • b. persistent or periodic cravings for the drug
  • c. compulsive use despite eventual absence of euphoric effect
  • d. fears being without drug of choice
  • e. compulsive use of other drug, including alcohol, in absence of drug of choice

2. Loss of ability to control use

  • a. can't refuse drug when offered
  • b. can't self-limit the amount used
  • c. binge patterns of excessive use - especially true with cocaine and amphetamine
  • d. failed attempts to stop using

3. Continued use despite adverse consequences

  • a. medical complications: lethargy, insomnia, appetite disturbances, loss of sex drive, impotence, abscesses and other infections, nasal or sinus problems.
  • b. psychiatric complications: depression, irritability, paranoia, suicidal/homicidal ideation or gestures
  • c. social complications: financial, relationships
  • d. legal complications
  • e. employment complications


4. Denial

  • a. denies that the problem exists
  • b. denies or down plays the seriousness of adverse effects
  • c. acts defensively when asked or confronted about drug use

Note: Person has no chance of recovery unless he/she can work through denial. Chemical dependency is a chronic recurring disease. Relapse (any episode of drug use) can happen anytime. It is progressive. A number of relapses increases the risk of re-addiction. 

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