Substance abuse is defined as a chronic, progressive, relapsing disorder resulting in physical and psychological dependence on chemical substances. Patterned substance use can lead to failure to fulfill major responsibilities, physical degeneration, legal problems, and interpersonal and social problems. Substance abuse can be treated successfully, but it does need to be identified and accepted, and it requires ongoing management in many cases.
While substance abuse is a health problem, education and prevention are major tools in the fight against it and its ramifications. Substance abuse charities that address the prevention and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse also provide support to dependent individuals and their families.