Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is the use of illegal drugs, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs, and/or alcohol for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts.


Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Addition is the most severe form of a substance use disorder.


Withdrawal is defined as stress, anxiety, depression, and/or physical symptoms of sweating, vomiting, and pain a people experience when they do not have access to a drug they use frequently.

Warning Signs

These are behaviors that often looks or sounds like a sudden, significant change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. The new or changed behavior can be related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who abuse substances exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

Co-occurring Disorders

Also known as comorbidity. Terms used to describe two or more disorders that occur in the same person, either at the same time or one after the other. To find out more how substance use and mental health disorders impact each other as well as the person they occur in, please visit the National Institute of Drug Abuse’s Mental Health webpage.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.