Substance use disorder: Abuse, dependence and dyscontrol

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to review the diagnostic concepts of substance abuse and substance dependence provided in DSM-III, DSM-III-R, and the forthcoming DSM-IV. The review incorporates the principles that there are no infallible criteria for identifying when a person lacks sufficient control over the usage of a drug, that dyscontrol exists on a continuum, that substance use dyscontrol shares many formal properties with behavioral dyscontrol within other domains, and that the diagnosis of a mental disorder should be free of moralistic connotations. We conclude the paper with an alternative proposal, wherein the DSM-IV diagnoses of abuse and dependence are collapsed within one diagnosis of substance dyscontrol disorder and physiological substance dependence is placed with the diagnoses of substance intoxication and substance withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-282
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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