Drug Abuse

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Major Depressive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Substance Dependence, Diagnostic Assessment, Borderline Personality Disorder

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



In this chapter, we aim to present a framework for the assessment and diagnosis of drug abuse and dependence with an emphasis on integrating a dimensional approach into the traditional categorical system that currently provides the basis for the majority of our established diagnostic interviewing tools. The aim of supplementing categorical diagnoses with dimensional tools is to provide a broader clinical picture of symptomatology extending beyond whether or not an individual meets criteria for dependence or abuse. Specifically, a dimensional approach can provide further information in substance use disorders (SUDs) on the frequency and degree of use, associated impairment, as well as comorbid symptomatology that may co-occur with drug use. Using such information to supplement a diagnosis of drug dependence or abuse can enable a more individualized treatment plan that not only targets the psychological underpinnings of substance use but also the consequences of use as well. We take a clinical approach to the presentation of information, approaching diagnostic assessment comprehensively with four stages: screening, diagnostic assessment, dimensional assessment, and assessing treatment response. In sum, this chapter can be used as a clinical tool for the diagnosis of drug abuse and dependence at multiple stages, encompassing a broader scope beyond traditional methods of categorical diagnosis.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Drug Abuse, in D. L. Segal & M. Hersen (Eds.), Diagnostic Interviewing, Springer, p. 251-281