Drug addiction and dependence are two terms used to describe the relationship someone has with drug abuse. Even these terms are seeing less use as the community transitions to a more universal term, substance use disorder. Until there is a full move away from terms such as addiction and dependence, it’s important to understand the difference for yourself or anyone you know struggling with problem drug use.

One Comes With the Other

Drug addiction is a serious medical condition plaguing our communities and is even finding its way into the lives of teenagers at earlier and earlier ages. Addiction has a much easier time setting up shop in the developing mind of a young adult which is why education around the matter has never been more important.

When someone is addicted to a drug, they change their entire life and behavior around it. The primary goal swaps from living their fullest life to finding and taking their drug of choice. The longer this goes on, the more drug dependence starts to set in which is the body and mind’s way of adapting to the new substance being presented to them. Once the substance is gone, it takes time for the internal systems to learn to live on their own again, or independently.

Spotting Drug Addiction

If you know what to look out for in someone you’re concerned is abusing drugs, you may be able to safely intervene before their forming addiction turns into a full dependence. You may notice that users start to self-isolate more and avoid family. New friend groups may pop up as they find others using the same drug as them, creating a judgement free zone that they view as safer than possible negative conversations spurred by being around family. Always make sure that users know they are still loved and supported no matter what.

Drug Dependency Is Harder To Spot

Dependency stems from addiction before the two start to feed into each other, creating an endless negative feedback loop of wanting the drug, needing the drug, using and repeating. Once someone is dependent, the only thing they can think about is sourcing and using more and more of their preferred drug.

What happens when they aren’t able to get their drug of choice? Withdrawal begins. With many hard drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine, the half-life is extremely short. What this means is that the substance is out of your system much faster than drugs such as marijuana. It also means that the dependence on drugs is not met as long and the body starts to go into overdrive as it can no longer properly regulate mental and physical internal systems.

You may notice someone going through withdrawals if you spot profuse sweating, irritability, depression, anxiety, heightened sense of paranoia and even just trouble concentrating to hold conversation. The best option is to find some form of drug addiction treatment plan whether it be a hospitalization for heavy drug users to have a safe withdrawal period or more relaxed one-on-one sessions with addiction specialists to tackle a budding problem before it gets out of hand.

Always Seek Professional Help

Live Free Recovery is committed to getting you or your loved one the help they need. We encourage anyone who is, or knows someone that is, struggling from problem drug use to get a confidential consultation from our staff to see just how comfortable the process can be done.