The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Criteria for Substance Abuse

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Criteria for Substance Abuse

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According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), substance abuse is characterized as, “a pattern of substance use leading to significant impairment or distress” (American Psychological Association [APA], 2013, para. 1). Table one of the DSM on Criteria for Substance Abuse and Dependency notes impairment or distress manifest in one or more of the following ways, in a 12 month period: “Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, and home, frequent use of substances in situations in which it is physically hazardous, frequent legal problems, and continued use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems.”(APA, 2013, para. 1). Examples of these impairments or distress are as followed in accordance to the DSM, “repeated absences or poor work performance, suspensions, expulsions, and neglect of children or household as a result of substance abuse, driving an automobile or operating machinery when impaired by substance use, an arrest or disorderly conduct as a result of substance use, and physical and/or verbal arguments with a spouse about consequences intoxication.” (APA, 2013, para. 1). All of these are examples that fit the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for substance abuse.
The DSM characterizes substance abuse and substance dependence as two separate social problems. Both are characterized as a significant impairment or distress. Substance abuse is defined as a pattern during a twelve-month period of one or more of the following examples previously stated, while substance dependence is defined as a dependence of three or more. These three or more forms of impairment and distress for substance dependence are further defined as inc...


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...ethics a social worker is held to in their practice.
Code 1.05, Cultural Competence and Social Diversity in the National Association of Social Worker Code of Ethics is prevalent in working to address the factors associated with substance abuse. This means not carrying any cultural attitude, norms, and expectations it vital to guide our practice with this problem Along with being culturally sensitive in a population or with a person dealing with substance abuse, it is also important to be aware of environmental and individual factors. This is a covers competence, it shows our ability to learn and gain expertise on the subject at hand. All of these factors contribute to service, gaining a better understanding helps us to better help those suffering from substance abuse as well as shows our commitment to our clients. (National Association of Social Workers, 2008).

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