Drug Dependence vs Drug Abuse

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Nicotine is an addictive substance that can make someone develop a physical and psychological dependence over time. When someone decides to suddenly stop smoking after they’ve consumed nicotine regularly, they will experience physical dependence symptoms, such as shaking hands, physical cravings, and fatigue. In most cases, physical dependence is the predecessor of addiction. In these situations, addiction can develop as a result of continued use. Despite the differences, long-term substance abuse can lead to addiction.

James works alongside the clinical director and administrative team to help ensure that every client benefits from a customized treatment plan and holistic approach that offers freedom from the grips of addiction. A more accurate way to think of the relationship between the two is that dependence is a consequence of drug abuse that often coincides with addiction, but is not necessarily the cause—or a result—of it. Drug use elicits a complex chain of emotional and physiological reactions that can affect people differently depending on a number of factors . If so, it’s important for you to treat it with the seriousness it requires and get help before it’s too late.

  • As the drug use continues, the brain recalibrates itself to the floods of dopamine by producing less of the neurotransmitter or reducing dopamine receptors.
  • You will also find information on spotting the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance.
  • It’s about helping them remember the brilliant person they are, even without alcohol in their life.
  • Whether he’s leading groups or providing individual and family therapy, Kevin’s passion for serving those suffering from substance use disorders is always on display.

This common misunderstanding is a primary reason why the epidemic with benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome has gone on so long. The body’s acclimation to the chronic presence of the medication results in neuroadaptations and, ultimately, a dependency on the medication. Tolerance is a person’s ability to react normally to a substance at different doses. For example, a person who doesn’t drink often may feel impaired after one or two drinks.

People with dependence were classified as having the most serious form of addiction. In 2013, the APA did away with these terms and now classify all substance use disorders as either mild, moderate, or severe. Medical professionals need to apply many techniques and approaches to help patients with substance related disorders.

The two conditions often occur at the same time, but a person can be dependent on a substance without being addicted to it. Addiction and dependence are terms that are used interchangeably to describe an unhealthy, problematic reliance on drugs, alcohol, or other compulsive behaviors. Some people develop physical dependencies on a drug while others only develop a psychological dependence.

Family Nurse Practitioner

SUD can have devastating, life-long consequences if not addressed. SUD results in compulsive behaviors that manifest as cravings, an inability to control use, and continued use of the drug despite its harmful consequences. SUD can occur separately from physical dependence, although in the case of opioid use, a patient is also typically physically dependent on the drug.

Professional, compassionate support for substance dependence is critical for a thorough recovery. Dependence happens when the body or the brain requires a particular substance for a person to feel normal. Without the substance, whether that’s a type of drug or alcohol, the body suffers from withdrawal symptoms. Deirdre graduated in 2012 from Pace University and completed her bachelor’s at Columbia University in New York and has her Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner. Deirdre has extensive experience in mental health and treating substance use disorder related issues. In addition, Deirdre has experience in caring for young adults, women’s health issues and adolescents with HIV/AIDS.

Dependence is characterized by the symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal. While it is possible to have a physical dependence without being addicted, addiction is usually right around the corner. Dependence is defined as an adaptive state that develops in response to repeated drug administration, and is unmasked during withdrawal, which occurs when drug taking stops. Dependence from long-term drug use may have both a somatic component, manifested by physical symptoms, and an emotional–motivation component, manifested by dysphoria. Brings about complicated reactions in the brain and body that are easy to underestimate. Psychoactive substances generate the release of neurotransmitters, which are vital for causing and moderating our behavior.

Risks of Tolerance

Substance dependence includes physical or physiological symptoms, such as increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Dependence is almost purely physical; it has to do with how the body responds to repeated drug or alcohol use. Rather than your brain telling you that you need more of the substance in their system, your body tells you it will not feel normal without alcohol or drugs. Both addiction and dependence are measured on a larger scale of substance use.

Continually using drugs or alcohol even though it is causing or adding to physical or psychological problems. Additionally, undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues, such as depression, can be a predictor of eventual reliance on substances for self-management of negative affective states. A patient with a SUD begins to lose the ability to effectively prioritize https://rehabliving.net/ their well-being over the continued use of the drug. Because of the direct effects on the brain, an addicted patient will often act out of character and develop an inability to determine whether and when their use has become problematic and uncontrollable. Part of alcohol addiction recovery is reminding the person they don’t need alcohol to complete them.

The APA ditched both “substance abuse” and “substance dependence” in favor of “substance use disorder.” Substance use disorder is now the medical term for addiction. Previously, abuse was a mild form of addiction, and dependence was a moderate or severe form of addiction. That terminology was problematic because in biology — the study of organisms — dependence refers to a physical adaptation to a substance. In much the same way as alcohol addiction, drug addiction doesn’t always mean the individual physically depends on the substance. Individuals can end up with a dependence despite never having had any desire to “take drugs.” It’s important to remove the stigma of dependence and addiction so people can get the help they need. But it’s only since the 1950s that we’ve been studying the science behind addiction and dependence.

addiction vs dependence

They’ll experience withdrawal if they suddenly stop receiving the medication. But they aren’t addicted if they aren’t compulsively seeking the medication despite obvious harms. Determining whether opioid-seeking behavior is caused by addiction or the desire for pain relief is complicated.

Meanwhile, people with a psychological dependence continue abusing a drug to maintain emotional stability and mental health. ‘Dependence’ is a term used to describe a person’s physical and psychological loss of control due to substance abuse. If a person uses many drugs and develops a physical dependence on these drugs, that person is usually described as dependent. That alone isn’t always an addiction, but it can accompany addiction. When someone is addicted to a substance, it’s not uncommon for their loved ones to refer to them as having an “addiction” to certain behaviors or describe them as someone that is “dependent” on alcohol or drugs. People tend to use the words “addiction” and “dependent” interchangeably to describe a person’s behavior when engaged in a certain activity, as well as the results of the behavior when it leads to a physical illness.

Addiction vs Dependence

Vince received his bachelor’s degree in Family Science from The University of Maryland, and received his master’s degree in Social Work from The Catholic University of America. He provides individual therapy, group therapy, and assessments for clients in recovery from substance use and any related mental health issues. Vince is passionate about the work that he does, and approaches therapy through an empathetic and motivational approach.

  • Getting and using drugs become the main focal point in the person’s life, despite any and all consequences that may follow.
  • Long-term drug abuse will interfere with how neurotransmitters in the brain send, receive, and process signals.
  • The only way to overcome this is by accepting you have a problem and reaching out for help.
  • The biggest sign of physical dependence on a substance is that an individual will suffer withdrawal symptoms if the substance use is stopped or doses are significantly decreased.
  • The difference between addiction and dependence can be difficult to understand.

When it comes to addiction treatment and recovery, Bright Future Recovery’s team delivers beyond expectation. Some drugs, like opioid painkillers and heroin, have a structure that is similar to the brain’s chemical messengers , which are produced naturally by the brain. Due to the similarity, these types of drugs “trick” the brain’s receptors and cause the nerve cells to send abnormal messages. Drug addiction occurs because the chemicals in drugs disrupt the brain’s communication system and the way that nerve cells receive, send, and process information. This typically happens in one of two ways, or a combination of both – the drugs mimic the natural chemical messengers of the brain, and they overstimulate the reward center of the brain. Using drugs or alcohol even with continued relationship problems caused by use.

No longer taking that drug produces symptoms, including withdrawal syndrome. Patients who are not addicts are being treated for addiction – and that’s why addiction treatment doesn’t work for these patients. Physical dependence is important because the two issues are treated differently medically. Drug tolerance refers to the body getting used to a substance over time. When someone develops a tolerance, they need to take a higher dose to experience the same effects.

Examples of Dependence

If their doctor stops the prescription, they make seek it out through illegal means when they become addicted. A person may also experience psychological dependence symptoms, such as feeling like smoking puts them in a calmer mood or helps them get through the day. Both of these forms of dependence can lead to relapse and make it difficult for someone to quit. An example of drug tolerance would be someone taking a prescription drug, such as an opioid painkiller, that produces a pleasurable “high” when taken in large doses. Over time, as that person continues taking the prescription drug, the high that is produced will slowly decrease.

Full-blown addiction is determined less by physiological symptoms and more so by behavior. This chronic disease is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as “compulsive drug use despite harmful consequences.” These consequences include more than just deteriorating health. They are an inability to fulfill the responsibilities of day-to-day life that can cost them personal and professional obligations and relationships, financial stability, and more. Someone with a drug addiction continually prioritizes the use and acquisition of drugs despite the detrimental effects it can have on their life and overall wellbeing.

Although someone with a drug addiction can end their physical dependence on the drug through detox, the mental component of the addiction remains, and maintaining sobriety can be an ongoing struggle. Physical dependence is a natural expected physiological response to drugs such as opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and corticosteroids. It is characterized by withdrawal symptoms with the patient being unable to cope when the drug is stopped. Dependence on a drug can certainly lead to a substance abuse disorder . According to the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), there’s not really a distinction between dependence and abuse anymore.

When used in larger quantities or regularly, drugs can bring on imbalances and changes in the mind that lead to cravings and physical and/or psychological dependence. A variety of highly individual factors––genetics, mental health, and eco sober house review social environment––affect how people respond to drugs. The diagnosis of drug addiction requires a comprehensive evaluation which often includes an assessment by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed alcohol or drug counselor.

James is a CCAR Recovery Coach and believes in developing meaningful relationships, and providing highly individualized therapy and client care. In 2017, James had the opportunity to combine his business experience and passion for recovery to start The Freedom Center. Addiction is in its own category and is characterized as changes in behavior, which are caused by the biochemical changes in our brain due to prolonged substance abuse.

The question of what type of substance use can be considered normal or acceptable remains controversial. Substance abuse and dependence are caused by multiple factors, including genetic vulnerability, environmental stressors, social pressures, individual personality characteristics, and psychiatric problems. But which of these factors has the biggest influence in any one person cannot be determined in all cases. Before they know it, they’re using alcohol to deal with every social situation. But without the alcohol, they feel low and lacking in confidence, and may even avoid social situations.

With a robust foundation in 12-step philosophy, Federico can not only educate the clients on the model, but also integrate the tried-and-true principles in a more personal, clinical setting. Mark eventually develops a physical dependence on alcohol, as it’s an addictive substance. He decides to cut out this bad habit, but he soon starts drinking again. Now he drinks ten or fifteen beers every night, and he sometimes blacks out.

While some with substance issues recover and lead fulfilling lives, others require ongoing additional support. The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is to enable an individual to manage their substance misuse; for some this may mean abstinence. Addictive disorders are highly treatable, and treatment at an inpatient or outpatient rehab can greatly increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety.

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