Addiction vs Dependence

All of these risks can be serious, and why proper treatment and support are critical for anyone struggling with substance abuse. For instance, someone who is on a prescription for pain medication may find that he needs increasing amounts of dosage for the medication to work. Some doctors may diagnose this as an increasing tolerance, or it might be disguised as the possible start of an addiction issue. Let’s examine how the world views addiction versus dependence in relation to substance abuse disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse, we can help.

There is no justification for keeping this misleading term in light of what we now know about the nature of addiction. For one, depending on a substance to avoid physical withdrawal symptoms is neither necessary nor sufficient to define addiction. Many drugs cause dependence but not addiction, for example, paroxetine [10] and clonidine [11]. But when people withdraw from these medications, they do not crave them and once successfully tapered, they do not have recurrent use. In contrast, craving and recurrent use are common symptoms of addiction, particularly during early stages of recovery. By targeting both the physical and psychological symptoms of a substance use disorder, patients can safely and effectively be treated.

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The more a person becomes dependent on a drug, the more their brain’s chemical balance shifts towards that drug. This means it will be more challenging to stop taking it, thanks to increasingly severe withdrawal symptoms. In contrast, a wrong diagnosis can hinder someone from getting the help they need. Users may convince themselves they use their substance of choice because their body relies on it, but they can stop whenever they want. For some users, that can be life-threatening, especially if drug or alcohol use has escalated.

What are the 6 example of drug dependence?

Examples of some drugs that cause dependence include nicotine, morphine, heroin (also known as diamorphine), cocaine, amfetamine and alcohol. Some people can also become dependent on medicines that are on prescription.

Addiction, on the other hand, is not a predictable drug effect, but rather a disease that occurs in genetically, biologically, and psychosocially vulnerable individuals. When genetics, environment, and drug use overlap, addiction may occur. Speak with your doctor if you have become physically dependent on a medication or other substance. Other common substances that cause dependence are nicotine and pain relievers, particularly narcotics. Stopping suddenly will likely cause symptoms, and they can be serious.

Professional Treatment for Physical and Psychological Dependence

When the body physically depends on alcohol, it relies on it to feel normal. Without the alcohol, withdrawal symptoms like the ones highlighted above begin. In situations like this, a doctor may be able to wean patients off the drugs by gradually decreasing the dosage. Drug users who have experienced a very negative withdrawal period may choose to keep taking the drugs rather than go through this again. Professional, compassionate support for substance dependence is critical for a thorough recovery. An individual addicted to a substance may feel highly motivated to seek the experience of taking drugs or drinking.

  • The World Health Organization also wanted to replace the medical designation of “addiction” with the word “dependence” back in 1964 (which probably contributed to the confusion).
  • I utilize a person-centered approach to my clients to help empower change within themselves.
  • This refers to how long they’ll deal with the symptoms of quitting substance abuse.
  • For example, cocaine withdrawal includes physical symptoms like fatigue and general discomfort.

It could include prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, street drugs, alcohol, even nicotine. Medical and substance abuse communities have found that there are neurochemical differences between a normal brain and an addict’s brain. There are even perceived differences between addiction versus the abuse of a substance. A person who is chemically dependent on a drug might show different physiological changes around chronic usage, tolerance levels, and even withdrawal symptoms.

Dependence vs. Addiction

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. APA Services advocates for policies, programs, and funding addiction vs dependence to improve the prevention and treatment of opioid and other substance use disorders, including nonpharmacological interventions for pain management. He earned a Bachelor’s degree at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania while pursuing his CAC-AD.

  • That’s primarily thanks to older definitions that we no longer use but that some professionals still refer to.
  • What he has found to be most rewarding about working in the addictions treatment field is being able to help suffering addicts and alcoholics to realize their fullest potential.
  • For example, a person who doesn’t drink often may feel impaired after one or two drinks.
  • James Scribner holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Researchers are concerned about the misdiagnosis of addictive disorders based on the potential negative outcomes — for example, worsening stigma or discontinuing needed medications. The terms dependence and addiction must be separated to ensure the proper interventions and treatments. Although they are closely linked, and there is plenty of overlap, they are not the same, and that matters. Physical dependence affects that part of the brain that oversees autonomic body functions, such as breathing. As the Medical Director, Mark works with the staff to coordinate the appropriate level of care for each individual client.

The arts can be used in a variety of ways to address issues related to addiction. Art can be used as a form of therapy in the treatment of substance use disorders. Creative activities like painting, sculpting, music, and writing can help people express their feelings and experiences in safe and healthy ways. The arts can be used as an assessment tool to identify underlying issues that may be contributing to a person’s substance use disorder. Through art, individuals can gain insights into their own motivations and behaviors that can be helpful in determining a course of treatment. Finally, the arts can be used to advocate for those suffering from a substance use disorder by raising awareness of the issue and promoting understanding and compassion.

addiction vs dependence

While CBT does not cure behavioral addiction, it does help with coping with the condition in a healthy way. Physical dependence on a substance (drug or alcohol) may be a component of addiction, but it does not itself equal addiction. Dependence is characterized by tolerance or withdrawal symptoms, and can be a consequence of many drugs, such as pain medications, stimulants, and antidepressants.

In this, the definitions of “substance abuse” (which referenced a mild form of addiction) and “substance dependence” (which represented more severe cases) were both replaced. The result is that clinicians who see evidence of tolerance and withdrawal symptoms assume that this means addiction, and patients requiring additional pain medication are made to suffer. Similarly, pain patients in need of opioid medications may forgo proper treatment because of the fear of dependence, which is self-limiting by equating it with addiction (764–765) [6]. Psychological dependence, on the other hand, is treated using behavioral therapies, holistic therapies, and support groups.

However, it is possible to become physically dependent on a substance without becoming psychologically addicted. Since addiction is such a complex disease, many people get confused about the difference between physical and psychological dependence. While addiction is classified as a disease, dependence is a state of being physically dependent on a certain substance.

They should last no longer than one week for mild cases of drug dependence. If they last longer, their reliance on drugs may become an addiction. Addiction is a disease, and like any other medical condition, it requires a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan. Working with professional care providers and addiction specialists will help you understand your current risk levels and what that means concerning the next steps. Psychological dependence can be just as challenging as physical symptoms to overcome. For example, cocaine withdrawal includes physical symptoms like fatigue and general discomfort.