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Drug Dependence vs Addiction: What’s the Difference?

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According to the latest data, 59.277 million Americans have used illicit drugs. A significant number of them may become addicted, and some may become dependent.

These issues affect people of all ages, races, and lifestyles. But while drug dependence and addiction may sound like two aspects of the same problem, they are different terms. They denote different types of trauma.

Are you wondering how they’re different and which ones you might suffer from? Great, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about drug dependence vs addiction.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a mental health disorder characterized by the uncontrollable use of drugs. It occurs when someone compulsively uses drugs. This may lead to physical and psychological dependence on them.

People with long-term drug addiction may experience various severe health problems. They may lose interest in activities that once were important to them.

Drug addicts may go to extreme lengths to get the drugs they need. Drugs can reduce their ability to think rationally and control their emotions.

Drug Dependence vs Addiction

Drug addiction can be devastating and destructive, and it often takes professional help to overcome it. Drug addiction is linked to underlying mental health issues and unresolved trauma. Addiction treatments may include counseling, behavioral therapy, and support groups for addiction recovery.

What Is Drug Dependence?

Drug dependence is a physical or psychological need for a drug strong enough to cause negative consequences when not taken. It is a process whereby an individual’s body chemistry changes due to repeated drug use.

When a person is dependent, they will experience physical and psychological cravings. They will go through withdrawal symptoms if the drug is no longer taken.

Dependence is also often accompanied by tolerance. This is a situation where the drug becomes ineffective because the user’s body has adapted to the presence of the drug. This adaptation can lead to increased use of the drug.

Drug dependence can be associated with dangerous behaviors. It risks the user for accidental injury, legal consequences, and potential overdose. If a person is dependent, substance abuse treatment centers are available for help and support.

The Main Difference Between Drug Dependence vs Addiction

The main difference between the two lies in the individual’s relationship to their drug of choice.

Drug dependence refers to the physical effects of taking certain drugs. Drug dependence originates from the body becoming dependent on the drug to function normally.

Addiction is the individual’s mental relationship with their drug. Individuals with drug addiction often suffer from a powerful compulsion to use their substance. It is characterized by impaired judgment and diminished control over the use of the offending substance.

Drug dependence and addiction can often arise together. So it isn’t easy to differentiate between them. Still, they are similar in that they are both dangerous consequences of drug use and need proper medical intervention.

It Is Important to Know the Differences Between the Two 

Drug dependence vs addiction is much like the two sides of a coin. Although they are different, there are common elements associated with both. Understanding the difference between the two is important.

If you know of someone dealing with either of the two, it is crucial to help them on their journey of recovery. Let’s work together to address substance use disorders and make a positive impact.

Do you want to find more helpful info? Check out more of our guides on our blog today!



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