Alcohol or Other Drug Continuum

The Alcohol or Other Drug "Continuum of Use" is a good tool to help you evaluate your own substance use. If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please call Health Promotion and Preventive Services at 621-6483.

Reasons to Abstain

Social Use

Regular Use

Problem Use

Addictive Use

  • Religion or personal values
  • Caloric content (alcohol)
  • Taste
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergies
  • Taking medication(s)
  • Friends don't use
  • Designated driver
  • Interference with academic, athletic, and sexual performance
  • Physical, emotional, behavioral effects
  • Previous negative experiences
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • In recovery from addiction
  • Maintains a safer Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
  • BAC of <.05
  • Uses the substance to enhance an activity such as celebrations, meals or a special event; it is not the main focus of the activity
  • Most UA students fit in this category
  • This category is hard to define. "Regular" use is different for everybody. This may or may not be a problem.
  • Frequently becomes intoxicated/high
  • Attracts attention when using the substance
  • Becomes accident-prone
  • Becomes more tolerant of the substance (needs increasing amounts to achieve desired effects)
  • Uses the substance as a medicine in an attempt to cope with situations or change feelings
  • Experiences frequent blackouts (alcohol)
  • Feels afraid to stop
  • Experiences constant preoccupation with the substance
  • Loses control with the substance (can't predict how many drinks or doses they will have after the first one)
  • Unsuccessfully attempts to stop or control use of substance
  • Becomes dependent on the substance (continues to use it even though it's causing problems in their life)
  • Continues to use the substance in order to feel "normal" or ease withdrawal pains