Addiction FAQs


What's the difference between Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorder?

The two terms are interchangeable, with both referring to people who have a substance abuse diagnosis as well as a mental illness such as depression, bipolar or anxiety.

Why is it important to know if someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol also has a form of mental illness?

The symptoms of mental illness can be very distressful leading many people to turn to substances as a form of self-medication. If properly diagnosed a psychiatrist can prescribe medication such as anti-depressants or mood stabilizers which, when combined with talk therapy, may alleviate the symptoms that precipitated their drug seeking behavior.

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What is an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental health diagnoses. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Anxiety is a fear that one has when we have to do something stressful (e.g. take a test, go to the dentist). However, excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that interfere with one’s everyday life may be indicative of an anxiety disorder.

What are the types of Anxiety Disorders?

There are many types of anxiety disorders. They include but are not limited to:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
What is the relationship between Anxiety Disorders and Substance Abuse/ Dependence?

Research has shown that people who are diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to suffer also from a drug use disorder (abuse or dependence) compared with people without one of these mental health disorders.


What are mood disorders?

Mood disorders, also known as affective disorders are, as the name implies, disturbances of mood ranging from very low depression to very elevated mania.

What are the types of mood disorders?

The following are some of the classified mood disorders:

  • Major Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder also known as Manic Depression
  • Dysthymia
  • Cyclothymia
  • Premenstral Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)
What is the relationship between mood disorders and substance abuse?

About 9% of people with substance abuse issues also have at least one mood disorder that is independent of the effect of the drug being abused. It is important for an accurate diagnosis as many symptoms of intoxication and withdrawal from alcohol and other substances resemble the symptoms of mood and/or anxiety disorders so the co-occurring mental health diagnosis could be easily overlooked (from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) Archives of General Psychiatry [Volume 61])

Why is the diagnosis of a mood and /or anxiety disorder important?

Research has shown that, left untreated, such disorders may lead to substance use relapse and other negative outcomes.

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What are narcotics?

Narcotic analgesics (pain killers) are drugs that can relieve pain, cause numbness and/ or induce a state of unconsciousness. They have the tendency to cause tolerance and dependence.

Why do people abuse Narcotics?

Narcotics reduce pain, produce a general sense of well being by reducing tension, anxiety, and aggression.

What are the dangers of Narcotic Abuse?

People who have suffered an accident or chronic illness are at high risk of addiction as ,over time, tolerance develops and the patient needs an increase in dose to get the same effect. Negative effects include: slowed physical activity, constriction of the pupils, flushing of the face and neck, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and slowed breathing. As the dose is increased, both the pain relief and the harmful effects become more pronounced. Some of these preparations are so potent that a single dose can be lethal to an inexperienced user (DEA website).

What are some of the street names for Narcotics?

Big H, Black Tar, Brown Sugar, Dover’s Powder, Hilbilly Heroin, Horse, Junk, Lean or Purple Drank, MPTP (New Heroin), Mud, OC, Ox, Oxy, Oxycotton, Paregoric, Sippin Syrup, Smack.

What are the names of some common narcotics?

There are many narcotics, but some of the most common and most often abused are:

  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Vicodin
  • Codeine


How do hallucinogens affect people?

A hallucinogen is a psychoactive agent which can cause hallucinations, changes/distortions in perception (eg. time and space), thoughts, emotion, and consciousness. Unlike most other drugs, the effects of hallucinogens are unpredictable producing different effects in different people and even the same person at different times. Due to their unpredictable nature hallucinogens are considered especially dangerous.

What are the names of some names of hallucinogen drugs?
  • LSD
  • Ecstasy/MDMA
  • K2/Spice
  • Ketamine
  • Peyote & Mescaline
  • Psilocybin
  • Marijuana/Cannabis
  • Steroids
  • Inhalants
What are some street names for Hallucinogens?

Acid, Blotter, Blotter Acid, Cubes, Shrooms, Mushrooms, Mindy Candy, STP, Special K.

Why are hallucinogens dangerous?

Hallucinogens can cause agitation, confusion, anxiety, paranoia, delusions, loss of social inhibitions and wildly labile emotions. Large doses of hallucinogens can cause psychosis, ruptured brain blood vessels, brain damage, seizures, and potentially fatal respiratory and heart failure. Most people however do not die from LSD, magic mushrooms, or mescaline itself, but rather the accidents and suicides and dangerous behaviors while under the influence of these drugs. On the other hand, a severe overdose of PCP and ketamine can result in: respiratory depression, coma, convulsions, seizures, and death due to respiratory arrest (DEA website).

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What are CNS depressants?

CNS depressants, also referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers, are substances that can slow brain activity…

What are common types of depressants?

The following are some of the most commonly prescribed, and abused, depressants:


  • Used to treat anxiety, panic attacks and short term stress. Examples include diazepam (Valium) ​and alprazolam (Xanax).
  • Triazolam (Halcion) and estazolam (ProSom) are even more sedating and are therefore often prescribed for short-term treatment of sleep disorders.
  • Benzodiazepines are not prescribed for long term use because of the risk for developing tolerance, dependence, or addiction.​

Non-benzodiazepine sleep medication

Zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zalepon (Sonata) have a different chemical structure and are thought to have fewer side effects and less risk of dependence than benzodiazepines.

Barbiturates, such as mephobarbital (Mebaral), phenobarbital (Luminal Sodium), and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), are used less frequently to reduce anxiety or to help with sleep problems because of their higher risk of overdose compared to benzodiazapines.


What are Club Drugs?

Club drugs are named because they are favorites of teenagers and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties.

What type of drugs are Club drugs?
  • GHB
  • Rohypnol®
  • Ketamine,
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Methamphetamine, and
  • LSD (Acid)
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