Substance Abuse and Dependency Disorders

Six-hundred thousand Canadians have an alcohol dependency, and another 200,000 have problems with illicit drug use. Dependency on tobacco and prescription medications are also a mental health concern.


  • Increased tolerance for alcohol or other substance (perhaps needing increased amounts to achieve the same effect);
  • Withdrawal symptoms, taking alcohol or drugs in larger amounts than intended or over a longer time period than intended;
  • Persistent desire to decrease, or the inability to decrease, the amount of alcohol or drugs consumed;
  • Spending a great deal of time attempting to acquire the substance;
  • Continuing to use the substance even though the person knows there are reoccurring physical or psychological problems being caused by the substance abuse.

Drug and alcohol dependency can also lead to depression and other mental and physical health issues. Treatment options vary widely, and the success of treatment programs also varies according to the individual and the support network that they can access.