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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Nicotine addiction and abuse

11/20/2003

Question:

what is the difference of addition and abuse (tobacco)?

Answer:

When referring to nicotine, the drug in tobacco, the only diagnosis found in the DSM-IV (a manual that lists mental illness and substance use disorders) is "Nicotine Dependence". Nicotine "abuse" is not currently a recognized diagnosis. That being said, nicotine dependence refers to a maladaptive pattern of nicotine use that includes any 3 of the following 7 criteria in a 12-month period:

1. tolerance

2. withdrawal

3. using more than intended

4. unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop smoking

5. increasing amount of time spent obtaining or using cigarettes

6. important activities given up or reduced because of smoking

7. continuing to smoke despite knowledge of physical or psychological problems caused by smoking

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Response by:

Christina M Delos Reyes, MD Christina M Delos Reyes, MD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University