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What Is The Difference Between Drug Abuse And Drug Addiction

The Difference Between Drug Addiction And Dependence

1. What is the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction?

The main difference between dependence and addiction and most simple way to differentiate between the two is that dependence is when a drug is required to and allows someone to maintain normal functioning, whereas, conversely, addiction actually interferes with an individuals normal functioning. The treatment for these two conditions differs. People who are dependent on a drug or alcohol must detox from that substance dependence can be managed and resolved through slowly lowering the dosage through tapering. They also may be prescribed medications to help them avoid relapse and will almost definitely also attend counseling and group therapy to stay off the drug in the future. Addiction recovery treatment certainly also includes counseling and group therapy, but it may or may not require detoxing. Furthermore, treatment for addiction must also seek the root of the problem in the individual, which may be related to mental health issues, depression, or anxiety.

What Are Some Of The Recognized And Accepted Symptoms Of Drug Addiction

Drug addiction properly called substance abuse disorder is a medically-diagnosable condition with recognizable symptoms.

  • A preoccupation with the next opportunity to use/drink
  • A neglect of important responsibilities work, school, or family obligations
  • Engaging in dangerous activities driving while impaired, sexual irresponsibility, physical altercations, etc.
  • Legal problems DUIs, fines, jail time
  • Relationship issues arguments, divorce, breakups, spousal or child abuse
  • Continued substance abuse despite negative consequences
  • Tolerance needing more and more of the substance in order to achieve the same effect
  • Loss of control consuming more of the substance than intended, or with greater frequency
  • Excessive amount of time spent acquiring and using the drug or alcohol
  • Loss of interest in other activities that were formerly pleasurable
  • Multiple successful attempts to cut back or abstain
  • Dependencean inability to function or even feel normal without the presence of the substance
  • The manifestation of withdrawal symptoms when the substance is unavailable

Signs Of Drug Addiction

Drug addiction can be identified by numerous factors and is generally defined by if two or more of the following develop within the same year:

  • It causes relationships to deteriorate and social problems to develop.
  • A person begins to experience withdrawal symptoms once use ceases.
  • All other activities and responsibilities take a backseat to substance abuse.
  • There is no desire to stop or minimize use and a person continues to use despite being aware of the consequences it is producing.
  • They begin to experience cravings for it.
  • Tolerance develops and a person must begin using higher doses to experience the same effects.
  • Pay attention to changes in mood, behavior, and physical appearance in your child to identify signs of a developing problem. Be sure to stay engaged and discuss your concerns with your child to keep an open line of communication.

    Also Check: Do I Have An Addictive Personality

    What Are Some Examples Of Substance Abuse

    There are many ways in which a person can engage in active alcohol or drug abuse. For example:

    • Habitual heavy alcohol assumption or binge-drinking
    • Regular marijuana use
    • Purposefully taking more of medication than is prescribed
    • Crushing pain pills so they can be snorted for greater effect

    There is a fine distinction substance abuse and experimentation. Experimentation can refer to mild initial uses of a substance. A teenager who tastes his first beer at a party or who takes one puff off of a joint is not yet a substance abuser.

    The difference is in the degree and in the establishment of a pattern of use.

    Does Substance Misuse Lead To Addiction

    What Is The Difference Between Drug Abuse And Drug Dependence?

    A person does not acquire an addiction overnight. Tolerance to a drug builds up over time, cravings for the drug of choice develop and problems arise in every aspect of a persons life. Addiction often starts as casual substance use. If you think you or a loved one might be heading down that road, Gateway Foundation can help. Contact us today to learn about treatment options.

    Also Check: Can You Get Addicted To Morphine

    Common Symptoms Of Drug Abuse

    Neglecting responsibilities at school, work, or home .

    Using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, such as driving while on drugs, using dirty needles, or having unprotected sex.

    Experiencing legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit.

    Problems in your relationships, such as fights with your partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of friends.

    How Legality Impacts Addictions

    Americans of the designated age in their state have been able to legally buy alcohol since 1933 when prohibition was lifted, and, culturally, being addicted to a legal substance is more acceptable than being addicted to an illegal one. We joke about having too many margaritas we do not joke about deciding to roll up our sleeve and inject heroin.

    It is our cultural attitude toward alcohol, as well as its legal availability, that has likely contributed to the fact that more Americans are addicted to alcohol than any other drug over 18 million of us are addicted to alcohol, with 4.2 million of us being addicted to our next most popular drug marijuana.

    And it can feel different to be addicted to a legal substance than to be addicted to an illicit one.

    Recommended Reading: How To Cure Heroin Addiction

    Drug Addiction And Drug Abuse Difference

    When drug addiction and drug abuse are mentioned, they both often get lumped together. However, there is a difference between the two. Drug addiction is when someone has an intense craving for drugs that cant be controlled or forgotten about. They will do anything to have more of the drug in their system because it feels like life without it isnt worth living. Drug abuse refers to using drugs recreationally and then stopping on your own terms. Its still a drug, but it doesnt have the same intensity as drug addiction.

    Substance Addiction Vs Dependence: Whats The Difference

    Drug Dependence Vs Drug Addiction

    When a person is struggling with substance abuse, loved ones might describe them as being dependent on drugs, or as having an addiction. But are these one in the same?

    Addiction and dependence are two separate conditions relating to substance abuse. Yet because the terms are used interchangeably, the line between them often gets blurred.

    You may have a friend that smokes marijuana every morning before school, and wonder if he has a problem. You may have a daughter who drinks excessively with friends when she is home for college break, and wonder if you should be concerned. Maybe your loved one is taking painkillers for longer than prescribed, for an injury that happened months ago. Would this be classified as a dependence or an addiction? And most importantly, when does it require professional intervention and care?

    Recommended Reading: What Are The Two Types Of Addiction

    Substance Abuse Can Appear Casual Addiction Usually Does Not

    Many people may be surprised to learn what is considered substance abuse from a health perspective. Some may think that abuse of substances occurs only when substance use exhibits specific problems. The truth is substance abuse can appear quite casual. For instance, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines moderate drinking as up to one drink each day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Anything beyond that level of drinking is considered alcohol abuse, and puts people at risk of developing an alcohol use disorder . Similarly, substance abuse is also considered using prescription drugs in any other way than how they were prescribed. Taking pain medication to get high, in other words, is considered a form of substance abuse.

    Take Ashwood Recoverys addiction quiz, or consider getting a more formal addiction assessment, to help determine if a substance use disorder is present.

    In contrast, addiction often shows serious physical, social and psychological symptoms. While there are many different definitions of addiction, nearly all of them include the same component: continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite the problems that it presents. These problems can include social pressures, relationship problems, physical symptoms, and more. For example, one government agency defines substance addiction as follows:

    ~ National Institute on Drug Abuse

    Do I Need Help For Drug Abuse Or Addiction

    The difference between drug abuse and drug addictionis very slight and it can be difficult to know whats going on.

    Not sure if you need professional help for yourcocaine problem? Dont know if your heroin problem is abuse or addiction?

    Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:

    • Do you feel you have lost control over drug use?
    • Is there a physical dependence on the drug?
    • Do you need more and more of the drug to get the same effects?
    • Do you experience specific physical and psychological symptoms when not using?
    • Have you tried to quit but feel powerless to do so?
    • Have you got into legal trouble with law enforcement due to your drug use?
    • Does your life revolve around obtaining, using, and recovering from drug use?

    If your answer is yes to one or more of these questions, it indicates a serious problem that requires immediate help. Qualified addiction treatment experts at Rosglas Recovery can conduct a formal assessment of symptoms to find out the severity of the problem in yourself or a loved one. Our staff have vast experience in substance use disorders to know the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction and prescribe the appropriate treatments.

    Drug abuse and addiction affect multiple aspects of a persons life and require a holistic approach to treatment. We offer a range ofone-on-one therapy and group therapy programs for the most effective and sustained results.

    Read Also: Why Am I Addicted To Masturbating

    Difference Between Abuse Addiction And Dependence

    Friday, October 21, 2016 | By JP Emerald Coast

    Abuse, addiction, and dependence are words people tend to use interchangeably when they are trying to describe someone they care for who has a problem with drugs or alcohol. These words may also be bandied about when discussing the subject in general, as though all three words refer to the same thing or, at the very least, different levels of severity of the same illness.

    In truth, these ideas all describe completely separate things. Its important to understand the difference between these three terms so we can be specific in our language around addiction. It can be a challenging thing to talk about, with professionals and within our own families, and we need to make sure all of us are on the same page so that we can understand each other clearly.

    Does Everyone Who Takes Drugs Become Addicted

    Difference between Drug Abuse and Misuse

    Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. Everyone’s bodies and brains are different, so their reactions to drugs can also be different. Some people may become addicted quickly, or it may happen over time. Other people never become addicted. Whether or not someone becomes addicted depends on many factors. They include genetic, environmental, and developmental factors.

    Recommended Reading: How Many People Are Addicted To Drugs

    Is There Really A Difference Between Drug Addiction And Drug Dependence

    Yes, and heres why

    It is no secret that misinformation about addiction is rampant in popular media. One particular area of misinformation concerns what language gets used when describing topics related to addiction.If you have ever found yourself reading or warily chiming into discussions on social media about addiction,you might quickly get sucked into a world of confusion as you observe all sorts of individualsmedical professionals, journalists, parents, people who use substances, people in recoveryincessantly argue over terminology such as addiction,dependence,abuse,misuse,habit-forming,recreational use or medicinal use.

    In my experience as a clinical psychologist and, dare I facetiously say, a Twitter addict, the most important and commonly confused distinction is between addiction and dependence. And it is no wonder.

    The scientific construct of addiction has a rich and evolving history. Even the people who dedicate their lives to researching addiction and who are responsible for the very medical texts that we use to diagnose addiction havent arrived at a clear consensus about which terms to use when.

    A Contentious History

    The Biggest Source of Confusion

    Thus, the medical world was left with two very different definitions of dependence: one that signified physical dependence and one that signified a more complicated kind of biopsychosocial dependence, which, in reality, was used as a proxy to diagnose addiction.

    Can Drug Abuse Lead To Drug Dependence

    Roughly 22.7 million Americans require help to treat a drug or alcohol problem, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In fact, drug abuse sometimes leads to substance use disorder , a condition that is commonly linked to drug dependence.

    An SUD occurs when a person continuously uses drugs, and his or her drug abuse causes health issues or other problems at home, work, or school. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out that there are six types of SUDs

    Several triggers are associated with SUDs, too. These triggers include:

    • Family history of drug addiction
    • History of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
    • Living in an environment where illegal drugs are easily accessible

    Also, there are four stages of drug dependence:

  • Recreational Drug Use: An individual occasionally uses drugs in social settings.
  • Regular Drug Use: An individuals drug use draws him or her away family and friends, and he or she is concerned about losing access to drugs.
  • Drug Addiction: An individual builds drug tolerance and abandons previous interests and relationships.
  • Drug Dependence: An individual feels that he or she can no longer live without drugs at this time, an individuals physical and mental health may suffer significant damage.
  • If you or someone you know is dealing with drug dependence, seeking medical help is critical. With a proactive approach to treatment, an individual can get support to overcome his or her drug dependence.

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    How Can Aspenridge Help To Address Drug Use Or Drug Abuse

    Has your drug use led to problems at work? Or how about the difficulty in your marriage? What about your finances? These are significant consequences that would warrant further exploration into the personal use of drugs and other substances.

    AspenRidge offers a wide variety of services to address concerns with drug use vs drug abuse. These supportive services are designed with effective treatment modalities to help more Coloradans overcome the disease of addiction. AspenRidge is extremely resourceful and is a strong advocate for those seeking further understanding of their substance use. As mentioned, its critical that substance misuse is caught early on and our licensed therapists are experienced in helping thousands of clients understand the complexities of innocent drug use vs. drug abuse. Too often, addiction overtakes a person without warning. Thus, weve worked to create self-assessment tests that can aid in determining when to seek expert care and addiction treatment in Colorado.

    The treatment program at AspenRidge is renowned for its ability to work with substance use and to maintain sobriety during and after the treatment process. AspenRidge has developed a phase-oriented process that lasts approximately 12 months.

    Physical Dependence On A Drug

    What Are The Differences Between Prescription Drug, Heroin, and Alcohol Addiction?

    This doesnt necessarily mean you or your loved one is addicted to something or has developed an addiction. Its possible to develop a physical dependence on a prescription drug you have been taking for a long period of time and following the doctors instructions exactly.

    Some medications cannot be stopped all at once. Instead, people need to be weaned off them by lowering their dosage over a period of time in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. For example, antidepressants should not be stopped all at once. Discontinuation symptoms, as the withdrawal symptoms from antidepressant medication are called, can be uncomfortable. If someone stops taking the medication abruptly, they could feel anxious or even depressed. Some people complain of flu-like symptoms or dizziness in the days and weeks after stopping their medication.

    Prescription pain medications are another type of drug that should not be stopped all at once but instead should be weaned off slowly in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin, Oxycodone, Vicodin, and Dilaudid, can create a dependence in people who use them for some time, even if they are following their doctors orders as directed.

    Also Check: How To Help An Addict Spouse

    Understanding The Main Differences Between Use Abuse And Dependence On Drugs

    Drug abuse statistics reveal an alarming fact about substance abuse: over 20 million people in America used drugs or alcohol to the extent of a substance use disorder in 2014. Substance use disorder includes the abuse, dependence and addiction to drugs. Addiction and dependence on drugs carry with it many severe side effects that have an impact on a persons mental well-being and health. The behavior of an addict or substance abuser can affect their social, occupational and family life until nearly every aspect of their life is affected.

    But what is the difference between use, abuse and dependence on drugs? In this article, we will explore the science behind substance use disorder.

    The Difference Is In The Diagnosis

    Drug abuse and drug dependence are medical terms utilized with official definitions and diagnosis requirements.

    Drug abuse is typically what those unfamiliar with the process think of when they hear talk of an individual being addicted to drug use. They picture users abusing the substance leading to pushing away loved ones, engaging in dangerous activities under the influence and running into financial hardships instead of simply discontinuing their purchase of these illicit substances.

    Drug dependence can often be the outcome of initial drug abuse that spirals out of control. This is due to dependence often starting as a users tolerance increases, making getting the high they seek harder and harder to achieve. Increasing the amount of substance used will escalate dependence making it both physical and psychological in many cases.

    Also Check: How To Overcome Gaming Addiction

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