To meet the clinical criteria for substance abuse, there must be a “pattern of substance use leading to significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one or more of the following during in the past 12 month period:
Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, home such as repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school; neglect of children or household
Frequent use of substances in situation in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance use)
Frequent legal problems (e.g. arrests, disorderly conduct) for substance abuse
Continued use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication, physical fights)”
Programs that tackle substance abuse issues may be 12 Step oriented, rational recovery, CBT and many other approaches to helping users curtail their use.