Substance-related disorders occur when there is continual substance use despite physical, mental, social, legal and/or financial consequences, and where a physical and psychological dependence develops. Often concurrent disorders exist whereby the substance-related disorder exists with another mental health problem such as a mood or anxiety disorder.

Types of substance-related disorders:

  • Substance abuse: continual use despite negative consequences; does not experience extremely strong cravings for the substance
  • Substance dependence: dealing with tolerance (needing to increase the amount of substance to have an effect) and withdrawal (reaction when use of the specific substance stops) and experiences extremely strong cravings for the substance

Type of substances:

  • Depressants: alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, inhalants, opiates
  • Stimulants: amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, nicotine

Note: Athletes can have an addictive disorder that includes substances used to enhance performance, such as steroids and stimulants. Athletes may also experience non substance-related addictive disorders, such as gambling disorder.

Possible Signs of Substance Withdrawal

The following symptoms are seen in several types of substance withdrawal:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • vomiting
  • trouble sleeping
  • depressed mood or anxiousness
  • aches and pains
  • sweating
  • hand tremors
  • transient hallucinations
  • seizures

Types of Mental Health Problems

Disorder Disclaimer

The following are mental health problems (as defined by Reardon and Factor, 2010; Gardner and Moore, 2006; Mental Health Commission of Canada – Mental Health First Aid Canada, 2011).

Supporting ‘red flag’ examples are also provided to initiate the awareness and early detection of mental health problems. Please note this is not an exhaustive list, but a breakdown of some common mental health problems and the corresponding physical and psychological symptoms to look out for.