1. Understanding Substance Use Problems and Addiction




hen people experience mental health and/or substance use problems, their lives are significantly affected—and they are not alone in their experiences. The impact of mental illness and addictions extends beyond the individual to family members, friends, co-workers and others. It is important to understand the impact of these issues on you and other family members and the role you can play in recovery. In this course, we use the term “family” to refer to any person or group that belongs to an individual’s circle of support, and we use family, relative and loved one interchangeably.

Having a good understanding of substance use problems and the experiences of your loved one will help you to be supportive. In this module, we will explore terminology related to substance use and addiction. We will also look at why people use drugs, the risk factors and causes of addiction and how to recognize the signs of substance use problems.