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Difference Between Addiction and Dependence

Difference Between Addiction and Dependence

Understanding the addiction vs dependence debate is important in treating it and helping those who struggle to get the care they need.

Many organizations use addiction and dependence interchangeably, which can be confusing. Although these terms generally refer to substance abuse disorders, it’s important to differentiate the two to best comprehend them. To clear up any confusion, our drug and alcohol treatment center in Boca is sharing the difference between addiction and dependence and their definitions.

What is the Meaning of Addiction?

Addiction refers to a change in behavior caused by a biochemical change in the brain as a result of long-term substance abuse. When a person develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol, abusing these substances becomes their main priority. Despite the harm that long-term substance abuse can cause, these individuals are unable to control their use when they’ve hit the point of addiction. Because of the self-destructive patterns of behavior associated with this disease, many addicts suffer from problems related to their health, relationships, and finances. Treatment facilities like Banyan Boca understand addiction as a disease and therefore treat it accordingly. Our addiction levels of care were created with the understanding that an addiction to drugs and alcohol is a disease of the mind and body that is out of the individual’s control.

What is Drug Dependence?

When you discuss the nature of drug dependence and addiction, it’s important to understand what the term dependence refers to. In the topic of addiction, dependence can be both mental and physical and refers to the use of a substance as a condition response to a certain event or feeling, also known as triggers. Triggers can be anywhere from stress to driving and can set off the desire to use drugs or drink. Dependence can also be characterized as the body’s adaptation to the substance, its increasing need for more of the substance (tolerance), and the presence of symptoms if the substance is suddenly stopped (withdrawal). It’s often difficult to distinguish the difference between physical dependence and drug addiction because dependence doesn’t always lead to addiction, but it can be a symptom of it. If you suspect that you’ve become dependent on drugs or alcohol or think someone else has developed a dependency, our medically monitored detox in Boca can help you safely quit.

What is the Difference Between Addiction and Dependence?

The main difference between addiction and dependence is that addiction refers to an uncontrollable and compulsive need for the substance, while dependence refers to the growing physical and mental “attachment” or tolerance to the drug the person has developed. Both addiction and dependence are measured on a larger scale of substance use. Drug or alcohol abuse is often the early stage of dependence, which can slowly become an addiction. Substance use disorder is now the official term for addiction. The two were swapped because there are many misconceptions about drug and alcohol addiction. Differentiating dependence and stigma may offer more inclusive ways to identify people who need help, but may not have an addiction.

Warning Signs Of Addiction And Dependence

Despite the differences, long-term substance abuse can lead to addiction. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of dependence and addiction to prevent yourself or others from experiencing severe health problems.

Some common warnings signs of addiction and dependence include:

  • Obsessive thoughts or actions related to drugs or alcohol
  • Loss of control over their drug or alcohol use
  • Denial of their problem
  • Changing the subject whenever someone tries to help
  • Neglecting their responsibilities at home, school, or work
  • Spending time with people who also use drugs and alcohol

A person who has been using drugs or alcohol may also show physical symptoms like extreme fluctuations in weight, insomnia, poor hygiene, slurred speech, and more.

If you suspect that you have a growing attachment to drugs or alcohol or know someone who does, call us now at 888-280-4763 for more information about our rehab center and our addiction treatment services in Boca.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Difference Between Addiction and Dependence
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