Drug Addiction vs. Dependence

Learning the difference between the two terminologies

In many ways, drug addiction and drug dependence are very similar, which is most likely the primary reason they are used interchanged erroneously in context. When the two terms are used with disregard to correct or proper usage, it causes confusion at the hands of medical professionals who are trying to diagnose the condition correctly. It also contributes to a misconception or misunderstanding of why substance use occurs. The following content will give you an idea of how the two conditions differ from one another.

Drug addiction – describes a particular behavioral syndrome where the addicted individual is dominated by the obsessive and compulsive desire to procure more of the drug. The total motivation for the individual focuses is dominated by this while there appears to be no effect on the normal constraints of the person’s behavior.

Drug dependence – unlike drug addiction, drug dependence is a state that exists when an individual is unable to function throughout the day without using a particular substance, sometimes more than once. In other words, the person depends on the drug for normal physical functioning. Withdrawal reactions, which is the only evidence of dependence, typically occur whenever the person abstains from taking the drug.

Physical and psychological considerations

Drug dependence also involves a disturbance in psychological function as well as physical function. This includes anxiety, depression, or an inability to concentrate or focus on a task. An important point here is the need to understand that psychological dependency typically has a physical basis. Interestingly enough, there are a number of substances that produce physical and psychological dependencies without leading to addiction.

Additionally, physical addiction may occur without the existence of any dependency while physical dependence can occur without any signs of addiction. Psychological dependence can occur without any dependency existing. However, it’s not clear as to whether or not an addiction ever occurs without a psychological dependence being present. Finally, substance abuse may lead to addiction or dependence, but addiction and dependence do not lead to substance abuse.

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