Many people often use the terms “drug dependence vs. drug abuse” interchangeably. From a clinical standpoint, however, these terms do not necessarily imply the same problem or condition. Furthermore, it is important to distinguish when assessing drug use and the need for a drug detox center.
At the most basic level, the difference between drug dependence and drug abuse comes down to this: dependence implies an addiction in which the user cannot stop using the drug. Abuse may occur — even more frequently than it should. However, a person who abuses drugs may do so in isolated instances. No matter the distinction, individuals abusing or addicted to drugs need professional help to heal and recover. Tides Edge Detox offers extensive drug detox to help individuals begin their recovery from the disease of addiction.
Understanding Drug Abuse
Drug abuse signifies that a person exceeds the recommended amount or dosage of a drug. It can also send a warning signal that a person is using an illicit drug illegally. In other words, they are using the drug in a way in which it was not intended. For example, prescription opioids can be misused, leading to further problems requiring opioid detox. Some characteristics of drug abuse may include:
- Increasing a drug dosage beyond recommended use
- Using a drug recreationally in a way that was not intended
- Using an illegal drug
- Exhibiting dangerous or illegal behavior while under the influence of the drug
- Experimenting with an array of drugs or combining drugs
Drug abuse can also fall under the category of drug dependence since dependency is a form of abuse. However, it is important to distinguish between isolated cases of abuse and ongoing use. For instance, someone may snort cocaine multiple times at a party and suffer from a short-term side effect. Afterward, they may never snort cocaine again. The single instance is an example of abuse. But it does not suggest that the person’s mind and body are dependent on the drug.
Understanding Drug Dependence
When understanding drug dependence vs. drug abuse, the distinction needs to be in the frequency and duration of use. An individual that smokes weed every six months would not be classified as an addict. The person who smokes weed every day and cannot seem to quit would be classified as an addict.
A drug dependency forms when someone abuses a substance repeatedly over time and can’t quit. A dependency usually forms over a period of several weeks, months, or years. Some of the characteristics of drug dependency include:
- Repeated failed attempts at quitting
- An obsession with the drug that dominates a person’s life
- Increased dosage and use regardless of the risks
- Dangerous and risky behavior that seems to get worse
- Negligence of responsibilities at home, work, or school
- Denial that there is a problem or hiding the problem
A person who is dependent on drugs often views their condition in light of their relationship with the substance. Everything revolves around the drug to the point where they will continue using it regardless of the consequences. To rid the body of drug dependence, the person must undergo drug or alcohol detox.
Dependence on Prescription Medications
Most people understand the connection between illicit drugs and dependency. However, when it comes to drug dependence vs. drug abuse, identifying a problem becomes more difficult. Behaviors that would be alarming with illegal drugs may seem perfectly normal when applied to prescriptions.
For instance, increasing the dosage or frequency of using medication may seem normal due to a person’s understanding of the body’s tolerance to a drug. As such, the user can continue increasing the dosage and frequency while virtually going undetected. It’s only after the person suffers from a health problem or fatality that those around them knew they had a problem.
For this reason, it is important to identify the difference between drug dependence and drug abuse as it applies to prescription medication. If you or a loved one suffers from prescription drug abuse or dependence, consider reaching out to a prescription drug detox center and attending a partial hospitalization program.
Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms and the Role of Detox
Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the drug but can include both physical and psychological symptoms. Physical withdrawal symptoms may include:
Psychological withdrawal symptoms may include:
Withdrawal symptoms aren’t something that can be avoided in the detox process. Remember that drug detox is the first step in treating drug dependence. Drug detox helps to rid the body of the substance and can be done either at home or in a professional setting. Drug detox can be uncomfortable and may include withdrawal symptoms, so it is important to have support during this time. After drug detox, patients will need to undergo further treatment to address the underlying causes of their dependence. Treatment may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug dependence, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Silence won’t help you. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you get the effective treatment you need. As always, keep in mind that you are not alone in this fight.
Learn More at Tides Edge Detox
If you or a loved one are suffering from drug dependency, then contact Tides Edge Detox. We can help you overcome your addiction through comprehensive detox, rehab, and aftercare. To find out more about your treatment options, call 866.723.3127, or contact us online.