Addiction vs Dependence Comparing Definitions & Symptoms

SUD can occur separately from physical dependence, although in the case of opioid use, a patient is also typically physically dependent on the drug. It is important to understand and discuss the risks of drug dependence with your prescribing doctor. Long-term inpatient treatment programs vary in length, but typically last between 3 to 18 months. This type of rehab is best suited to individuals with long-term chronic addictions, especially those who have co-occurring mental health issues.

addiction vs dependence

Below is a list of the most common forms of substance abuse treatment programs and what they entail. Addiction or substance use disorder occurs when individuals are largely unable to function without the drug. People who are addicted develop a physical and psychological reliance on a substance that leads them to go to extreme lengths to continue taking it. Drug abuse and addiction (now more commonly known as “substance use disorder” or “problematic substance use”) have led to a major health crisis in the U.S.

How to Determine if You are Dependent or Addicted

It doesn’t use the terms abuse and dependence to categorize the severity of an addiction. A person can have an addiction without necessarily having a physical dependence. Similarly, a person can have a physical dependence on a drug without feeling compelled to use it.

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. Like all chronic illness, a family history puts people at higher risk for developing the illness. Alcohol, on the other hand, often follows a slower, more insidious path of abuse before the body becomes dependent on it. And it is the most misused drug in the United States, Mr. Kump says. He sees some people who took just a few weeks to develop an addiction to opioids, while others had a slower journey to their addiction.

Detox Programs

But because the body has adapted to its presence, a person may experience negative effects if they lower the dosage or stop taking it altogether. Physical dependence is when the body adapts to a substance’s presence. It leads to withdrawal symptoms if usage abruptly ends or is reduced. In this article, we look at the differences between addiction and dependence and explore definitions, examples, and differences in treatment. My first thought is that I’m really mad and frustrated to be on opiods, still to this day, especially because I’m the don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs person. 2 or 3 years ago I tapered off it to see if it was having an effect on my neuropathy pain.

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