The Difference in Addiction and Dependence

When genetics, environment, and drug use overlap, addiction may occur. Such confusion can also contribute to a reluctance among prescribers to treat pain conditions among individuals on opioid agonist treatment. The recent death of pop star Prince from an opioid overdose was one of the 25,000 fatal opioid overdoses in the US every year.

In addition, stress, trauma, and hardship are also known ‘risk factors’ that make addiction more likely. Even certain personality traits like being naturally more impulsive or neurotic can increase the chances of developing a dependence on drugs or alcohol. When someone uses the term “dependence,” they’re often referring to someone becoming physically dependent on a drug. This means they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms if they decrease the dose or halt use altogether, or they’re unable to experience the effects of the drug at the dose they’ve become used to, known as tolerance. With that said, it’s important to note that you can be dependent on a drug without being addicted.

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If concerns about dependence or addiction arise, consult a medical professional promptly. We know that the difference between addiction and dependence is often challenging to understand. Some organizations may have different names or definitions or use the words interchangeably, which causes mass confusion. The term substance use disorder (SUD) is the preferred way of saying it in the scientific community. Since consistency is lacking, it’s important to establish some ground rules.

addiction vs dependence

As a result, their usage must be causing them psychological or physical impairment. Individuals with SUD often experience health issues, legal problems, and job Expressive Arts Therapy: 15 Creative Activities and Techniques loss due to their substance abuse. You may have heard the phrase mental dependence and physical dependence and wondered to yourself, “what are the differences?

Risk of Drug Dependence and Addiction:

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, haven’t been able to arrive at a clear consensus about which terms should be used. Connect with thousands of patients and caregivers for support, practical information, and answers. So, I keep looking for safer, healthier, alternative pain management.

The former can lead to the latter, though, which is why it is so important to make the distinction between the two. Alcohol dependency is worse in many respects because it is much harder for people to quit after they become dependent. The condition is a disease, and many individuals who go through treatment for alcohol dependency often have to abstain from drinking completely in order to not fall back into these old patterns. While many mental illness medications have a low risk of addiction, some, especially benzodiazepines and stimulants, carry a higher risk. It’s crucial to take medications as prescribed, be aware of potential risks, and maintain open communication with health care providers.

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