Whenever I searched for information for my son the computer would always lead me to places for youth with substance abuse. I would get very confused, because my son wasn't using drugs, he was having other problems. I was upset that anyone with a mental health issue was automatically lumped in with substance abuse users.
What I have discovered, after many years of dealing with his issues, is that a lot of people use some type of drug to self-medicate. They are in overwhelming emotional pain and using a drug to ease their pain seems like a good idea. What I didn't realize was that my son had his own "abusive drug" that he relied on to ease his pain. It is called self-harm.
Self-harming is his way of self-medicating. It is his unhealthy coping skill, much like smoking marijuana or popping ecstasy is to someone else. What I realized is his self-harming is no better or worse than any other person abusing a prescription or non-prescription drug. I now know that he was correctly lumped into the group of substance abuse and mental illness, he had his own "drug" and he used it often.
Check out this site for information on teens and drug use: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/