Addiction vs Dependence Comparing Definitions & Symptoms

Caffeine is an example of a common substance that causes physical dependence. If you can’t function properly in the morning without your cup of coffee, it could be that you are caffeine-dependent. When you miss your morning cup, you might develop physical withdrawal symptoms, like a headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and more. These are less involved than partial hospitalization programs and typically take place at a treatment center or outpatient clinic. Clients receiving intensive outpatient treatment will usually visit the center 2 to 5 days per week for 2 to 4 hours per day. Short-term inpatient centers typically start with medical detox and are followed by a program of addiction treatment, such as therapy or counseling for 30 to 90 days.

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Alcohol abuse, on the other hand, involves drinking excessively without having a physical dependence. Long-term drug or alcohol use leads to a state of physical dependence, where your body’s cells can’t seem to function normally without that substance. However, over time, a physical state of tolerance means your body needs more drugs or alcohol to feel their effects.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Since the brain’s cells and chemical pathways have undergone considerable damage during the course of drug abuse, the brain still requires a certain degree of physical support in order to regulate the body’s processes in a normal fashion. Alcohol abuse was defined as a condition in which a person continues to drink despite recurrent social, interpersonal, health, or legal problems as a result of their alcohol use. A person who abuses alcohol may also be dependent on alcohol, but they may also be able to stop drinking without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol dependence causes people to keep drinking to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

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dependence vs. addiction which is worse

Keep in mind, a physical dependence is usually a precursor to addiction, so it is important to recognize the signs of both. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is obviously confused about the distinction, as evidenced by the terminology page on their website, which states, “Drug addiction—The preferred term is substance abuse disorder.” This is false. To reiterate, the DSM-5 dropped the categories of “substance dependence” and “substance abuse,” and so the claim that substance abuse disorder is the preferred term for drug addiction is inaccurate. According to the DSM-5, it is possible to meet diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder without having tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. That said, for many, but not all, substances, tolerance and withdrawal are often part of the package of symptoms of a substance use disorder.

Sociologists find low self-esteem at age 11 predicts drug dependency at 20 –

Sociologists find low self-esteem at age 11 predicts drug dependency at 20.

Posted: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Which Substances Are Addictive?

Addiction encompasses both a mental and physical reliance on a given substance. Dr. Kevin Wandler of Advanced Recovery Systems warns that addictive drugs, such as nicotine, can cause dependence. If you or someone close to you is struggling with substance misuse or abuse, talk to your doctor. Regardless of what term you use to describe a substance misuse issue, Mr. Kump emphasizes that the key is to understand that treatment is available. For example, social drinkers with a family history of addiction have a 1 in 5 risk of misusing alcohol, he says.

In near every case of substance use disorders, however, therapy and education is an important step towards recovery. 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. In medical practice, to get a diagnosis of a substance use disorder, there first needs to be a careful diagnostic interview conducted addiction vs dependence by a mental health professional. The interviewer assesses whether there is a problematic pattern of substance use or behaviors that are causing a person distress and impairment in their functioning to the point that it’s considered clinically significant. Opioid-based pharmaceuticals, often used for pain management, can present a complex picture of both dependence and addiction, as both can develop even with proper use.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

dependence vs. addiction which is worse

Moreover, therapeutic alliance can predict retention across various treatment conditions. In patients who received supportive-expressive therapy or individual drug counselling, a stronger alliance predicted a longer period of time in treatment [13]. Regular alcohol consumption can lead to physical and psychological dependence over time, along with potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms. As such, alcohol addiction can result from prolonged and ongoing use, and may require treatment intervention to begin the recovery process.

dependence vs. addiction which is worse

  • Medically, and in practice, addiction is most often diagnosed using the DSM-5 category of substance use disorder.
  • Short-term inpatient centers typically start with medical detox and are followed by a program of addiction treatment, such as therapy or counseling for 30 to 90 days.
  • For example, if you take a sedative to sleep, it may work very well at the first dose.
  • However, addiction can also result from the potentially-euphoric side effects of opioids—be they prescribed or purchased illegally—leading to compulsive usage and other harmful consequences.

One of the main medical texts that are used by mental health professionals to diagnose addiction is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM), which is currently in its fifth edition. However, if an individual takes an antidepressant of this category for long enough, they can experience negative symptoms or experience discomfort when they stop—especially if they stop abruptly. It’s always recommended to work in conjuncture with your prescriber to safety make any medication management changes to SSRI medications safely. Speak with your doctor if you have become physically dependent on a medication or other substance.

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