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Being aware of the neurobiology of addiction is essential to successfully assessing and treating it. This knowledge also helps explain behaviors in patients with substance use disorders when looking at choices made that seem contrary to a successful life. In this overview of substance use disorders we discuss the continuum of use, neurobiological changes due to substance use, theories that help understand the disorders, public health impact and epidemiology, and integrated care for this chronic brain condition and its biopsychosocial and spiritual implications.

* Identify the spectrum of substance use

* Describe neurobiological responses to substances

* Assess existing theories regarding substance use disorders

* Use accurate clinical terminology