What Is The Difference Between Addiction And Dependence
Dependence does not always lead to addiction. However, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two conditions. Additionally, the two terms are often used interchangeably. The World Health Organisation characterises both states as involving tolerance, compulsive drug-seeking behaviour and symptoms of withdrawal.
Tolerance describes the reduced reaction to a drug after frequent using, which means that the dosage must be increased to reach the same effects. Similarly, withdrawal refers to the physical and psychological symptoms that occur when a person suddenly stops using or greatly decreases their regular dosage.
Drug addiction is marked by a change in behaviour caused by the biochemical changes in the brain after continued substance abuse. It is beneficial to use both terms independently when a person is dealing with addictive substances that are used for medical reasons or addictive pain medications. Even though many individuals who regularly use opioid pain medication can become dependent or tolerant, that does not necessarily mean that they display addictive behaviour when using or getting the drug.
The characteristics of addiction and dependence can often overlap. Generally speaking, a person can be dependent on a drug without having an addiction, but once an addiction forms, they are often dependent.
Behavioral Similarities Between Drug Self
The concept of sugar addiction has been bandied about for many years. Clinical accounts of sugar addiction have been the topic of many best-selling books and the focus for popular diet programs . In these accounts, people describe symptoms of withdrawal when they deprive themselves of sugar-rich foods. They also describe food craving, particularly for carbohydrates, chocolate, and sugar, which can trigger relapse and impulsive eating. This leads to a vicious cycle of self-medication with sweet foods that may result in obesity or an eating disorder.
Although food addiction has been popular in the media and proposed to be based on brain neurochemistry , this phenomenon has only recently been systematically studied in the laboratory.
Why Certain Drugs Are Addictive
If drugs like heroin, cocaine and alcohol couldnt cause dependence and addiction, the problems of substance abuse and drug-related crime might not exist.
But in fact, the drugs that cause the most damage to your body, your family and your community have the highest potential for abuse and addiction. What makes certain drugs so seductive that even casual users seem to become addicted? The answer lies in the way these substances affect your brain chemistry.
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Recognize Signs Of Addiction
Keep yourself in check by learning how to recognize the signs of cannabis addiction early on. The hallmark signs of CUD are compulsive use despite adverse effects and loss of self-control. Furthermore, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists several other symptoms and problematic behaviors:
Note: For it to be diagnosed as CUD, the problematic pattern of cannabis use should be causing clinically significant impairment or distress with at least two of the symptoms occurring over a 12-month period.
The Most Addictive Illegal Drug
When it comes to illegal drugs, DrugWarFacts.org found that heroin is the most addictive drug.5 When comparing the elements of addiction in different drugs, heroin scored either a 5 or 6 in all key areas . In addition, heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it has an extremely high potential for dependence and abuse.6
Heroin is derived from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. When it enters the body, it is converted to morphine, which then binds to opioid receptors in the brain.7 This gives you a quick and intense feeling of euphoria and its this high that many people continue to chase as they fall into addiction.
Heroin can be addictive after only one use in some people. And it is easy to build up a tolerance to it quickly, meaning the body will continue to want more and more every time you use it. While the euphoric effects may diminish with each use, heroin will continue to depress life-sustaining processes such as breathing, which increases your risk of having an overdose since youll use increasingly larger doses of the drug over time to achieve a high.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe, beginning within hours after the last dose.7 The side effects of heroin withdrawal are often likened to flu-like symptoms and may include:
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Why Do People Get Addicted To Drugs
As a person continues taking drugs, the brains reward center adapts and becomes less responsive to their effects. When this happens, the user will feel less high than when they first started taking the drug. This is known as tolerance, and is a sign that a person has developed a dependence on the drug.
People with drug dependency experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking. This makes it difficult for them to stop their use of addictive substances.
An increased tolerance might make someone take more of the drug to achieve the same high and cause them to become less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed. An increased tolerance will also make someone experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they dont take the drug. At this point, people often use drugs or alcohol to keep from feeling bad rather than for their pleasurable effects.
Repeated use of drugs can also damage the essential decision-making center of the brain, known as the prefrontal cortex. When the frontal cortex isnt working properly, people cant decide to stop taking the drugeven when faced with severe consequences.
The inability to stop taking drugs is what eventually causes a person to become addicted to them. It is worth noting that while many drugs have addictive properties, some are more highly addictive than others.
Some Of The Key Papers On The Cellular Effects Of Addictive Drugs
Johnson and North, 1992 : A classic paper demonstrating the disinhibitory effect of opioids on dopamine neurons.
Cruz et al., 2004 : A current model explaining how the popular club drug GHB activates VTA neurons via its action on the GABAB receptor.
Maskos et al., 2005 : An elegant study showing that in knockout mice lacking the 2 subunit of the acetylcholine receptor, the rewarding properties of nicotine can be restored by selective re-expression in VTA neurons.
Chen et al., 2006 : A recent paper demonstrating that the rewarding properties of cocaine are absent in mice that express a cocaine-insensitive dopamine transporter.
Ungless et al., 2001 : The first in a series of papers to observe a form of long-term synaptic plasticity of glutamatergic synapses in the VTA in response to addictive drugs. This and other adaptive changes common to several addictive drugs downstream of the dopamine increase are the focus of much current research.
Saal et al., 2003 : In this paper the authors observe a form of long-term synaptic plasticity of glutamatergic synapses in the VTA in response to several addictive drugs. This and other adaptive changes downstream of the dopamine increase are the focus of much current research.
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What Is Considered Addiction
First, we should clearly establish what addiction actually is. To properly define it, we turn to the Holy Grail of diagnostic criteria, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM for short. In it, you will find everything youd ever want to know about mental health and substance use disorders.
The American Psychiatric Association publishes this manual, now in its fifth edition, and outlines addiction in terms of patterns of substance abuse related behaviors that fall into the following four categories:1
If you can check off something from each of these categories, then you meet the criteria for a moderate substance use disorder in more common parlance, an addiction to your substance of choice.
Now lets explore which drugs may be the most addictive.
Morphine And Other Opioids
These strongly increase the release of mesolimbic dopamine by their action on -opioid receptors , which are expressed on inhibitory GABAergic interneurons of the VTA . MORs have a dual action: they hyperpolarise GABA neurons and decrease GABA release. The post-synaptic hyperpolarisation is mediated by Kir3/ G proteincoupled inwardly rectifying K+ channels coupled to MORs on the soma and the dendrites, in analogy to other parts of the brain , while MORs expressed on the pre-synaptic terminals decrease release by inhibiting Ca2+ channels or activating voltage-gated K+ channels . MORs in the two cellular compartments therefore rely on distinct effectors, which together lead to strong inhibition of GABA neurons and disinhibition of dopamine neurons .
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What Is Methamphetamine
What Is Buprenorphine
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What Does It All Mean
A grand total of 23.5 million Americans are considered to be in need of treatment for addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Looking at the data, although nicotine has the highest rate of dependence, heroin has right rates across the board. If you factor in withdrawal symptoms, tolerance development, reinforcement, and intoxication, heroin could be considered the most addictive drug. It also tends to cause more general harm than nicotine a factor that many experts include in their analysis of drug addiction. One particular ranking based on harm to the user and to other people, including society at large, ranked alcohol as its top substance, far ahead of both heroin and cocaine.
On an individual level, its impossible to tell which drug will be the most addictive. People can have immediate adverse affects to drugs like heroin and cocaine, keeping the risk of becoming addicted to these drugs at bay, but they may end up with a severe addiction to caffeine. There are also many human factors that play into the risk of developing any kind of addiction, including genetic factors, environment, mental health, and body type. No matter who you are, however, the risk of addiction is always present if you choose to abuse a drug.
What Makes Drugs Addictive
While some substances may be technically more addictive than others, any drug can become addictive. Nicotine in cigarettes, alcohol, prescription painkillers, and illegal drugs all can be addictive. However, the risk of addiction is based as much or more on individuals and their circumstances, not drugs themselves.
Anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, including nurses, doctors, law enforcement agents or straight A students . It could happen the first time you try a drug, as can a fatal overdose.
Some of the things that make drugs addictive include:
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Most Addictive Drugs: The Basis Of Our Ranking Most Addictive Drugs
Our list is based on information gleaned from two different studies. The first was published in The Lancet in 2007, from a team headed by British psychiatrist David Nutt. The idea was to create a system for assessing the addictive level of various types of drugs. Three different aspects were measured, including physical dependence, psychological dependence, and pleasure generated by the drug.
The findings of this study were somewhat controversial because it was found that alcohol and nicotine, two legal and commonly accepted substances, were more addictive than ecstasy. Various newspapers in his homeland and the public ridiculed the studies and called for Nutt to resign.
Though he didnt resign, the controversy led to him being fired and another study was allegedly undertaken to confirm the truth of his hypothesis. This study has been reported to agree with Nutts findings, though no online publication of the study has been found.
The Top 10 Most Addictive Drugs
There are a variety of dangerous drugs in the world and the addictive levels of each vary wildly. Some are relatively non-addictive, while others cause addiction very quickly. Understanding the most addictive substances available can help you understand whether you or someone you love is at high risk for addiction. While drug use of any kind is typically dangerous and potentially addicting, these substances are the most problematic.
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A Totally Legal Very Addictive Drug
Nicotine, the main active ingredient in cigarettes, e-cigs, and vapes, is legal and sold in grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations, and countless other locations and is very addictive. Yet, although people smoke cigarettes or vape every day several times a day, even many do not consider nicotine a drug.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , in 2014, 16.8% of all adults in the United States, or 40 million people, smoked cigarettes. 2 Smokeless tobacco usage in the U.S. in 2012 was 3.6% in adults, or about 4 in every 100 people.3 Obviously a very popular, legal drug, nicotine is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths every year in the United States, yet it is the most preventable cause of death.2
So why are so many people addicted to something they know can kill them?
Nicotine goes straight to your brain and acts on its reward pathways by manipulating the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is released when you smoke and makes you feel good, relaxed, and is responsible for making you want to continue smoking.
Once nicotine dependence has set in, after you stop smoking, you may feel depressed, tired, and anxious, which are typically feelings youd like to avoid. So you continue to smoke to feel better. Over time, this is how addiction evolves.
Some negative side effects of smoking include:4
What Is Crystal Meth
Crystal meth is chemically similar to the drug methamphetamine, a stimulant that targets your central nervous system. While methamphetamine is made as a controlled prescription drug to treat ADHD, street versions of it are illegal and highly dangerous.
There are no medical uses for crystal meth. Its contents and appearance can vary by manufacturer.
âCrystal meth is always synthetic and illegally manufactured,â Deni Carise, PhD, chief science officer at Recovery Centers of America and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Pennsylvaniaâs Perelman School of Medicine, tells WebMD Connect to Care. âBecause all crystal meth is illicitly manufactured in clandestine street labs, there are no standards.â
The ingredients used in crystal meth usually include a combination of drugs extracted from over-the-counter medications mixed with more readily available substances such as ether, acetone, iodine crystals, or red phosphorus. The additives increase the total amount of crystal meth produced in one batch to yield a larger profit.
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Most Addictive Drugs: List Of Commonly Abused Substances
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health said that there are 19.7 million American adults who battled substance use disorder in 2017. The latest count states that the number of Americans with at least one addiction has risen to 21 million, but only 10% of them get treatment.
Drug addiction is not something to be taken lightly. Millions have died of overdose and abuse of harmful substances. If you fear that a loved one may be suffering from addiction, it will pay to know more about the most addictive drugs, the symptoms of use, and the consequences of getting addicted to them.
Beating Addiction Is Merely About Willpower
The causes of addiction are far more than just not being able to say no. Many people develop a dependence on painkiller medications and take them as prescribed but still are led to addiction because of the addictive properties of the drug. Many people who struggle with addiction want nothing more than to never use again in their lives.
Addictive substances alter the chemistry in our bodies and brains, making addiction far more than a yes or no impulse. Dependency, withdrawal and physical ailments can all be contributing factors that make it difficult for an addict to quit.
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Recovery Houses/halfway Houses Are Not Effective And Usually Lead To Relapse
Recovery houses have been extremely effective in helping those who have completed their stay in a treatment facility integrate back into society and fight their urge to use.
A study conducted of residents who stay in popular halfway houses called Oxford Houses all around America have given some promising statistics on the effectiveness of their recovery houses: 87% of their residents have been abstinent after two years, with higher rates of self-efficacy and self-mastery, higher monthly incomes of those who have gone back to work and lower incarceration rates of those who had trouble with the law before entering rehab.
Once An Addict Always An Addict
This is one of the more emotionally-loaded misconceptions and it tends to cause some controversy. Many people those who struggle with addiction, and loved ones of addicts truly and rightfully believe that addiction recovery is a lifelong process and that the person will in fact always be an addict.
Instead of once an addict, always an addict, which can sound harsh, negative and presumptuous instead, you can say, There is no cure for addiction, only recovery.
Active addiction is much different to being in recovery. Think of it like this: if you are a cancer patient who has beaten cancer, you are no longer a cancer patientbut that doesnt mean you didnt have cancer or that it cant come back. Your life will be forever affected by your cancer diagnosis, and there is a very real chance that your cancer could return, so you need to be careful. This is very much how addiction works as well.
Addiction is a very complex and complicated disease, but when an addict is able to seek treatment and implement recovery practices and healthier habits into their lives, addiction can be overcome.
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