Many people use drug abuse and addiction interchangeably when describing substance abuse disorders. Due to the stigma attached to drug use, mainstream culture does not differentiate between these two terms.
While both are incredibly dangerous and can have detrimental effects on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional healthy, knowing the difference between the two will help you determine the next steps to take toward a life in recovery. So, what’s the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction?
Drug Abuse vs. Addiction
Drug abuse and addiction are two different diagnoses. You can abuse a substance without experiencing addiction, but frequent drug abuse often leads to addiction. When it comes to drug abuse vs. addiction, it all comes down to levels of use. Experts consider the amount of drug consumed and the length of time a person has used drugs to differentiate between the two. It also depends on the severity of the health problems drug use have caused and how they affect you personally, physically, and mentally.
Drug abuse, also called substance abuse, is considered a dangerous form of harmful drug use. It’s described by the destructive use of a drug leading to:
- Relationship problems
- Depression and tiredness
- Problems at work, school or home
- Recurring legal and financial difficulties
- Deterioration in physical appearance
- Endangering your safety or the safety of people around you.
Addiction is a severe disease accompanied by both psychological and physical need for drugs and is far more severe than abuse. As the body begins to develop tolerance to a drug, more of the substance is required to have the same effect. Characteristics of drug addiction include:
- Frequent relapse
- Inability to work in a productive way
- Feeling weak to stop even if you want to
- Constantly depressed, feeling exhausted, and suicidal
- Continued use despite knowing the harmful consequences
- Severe withdrawal symptoms if the use of drug use stops abruptly
Diagnosing Drug Abuse and Addiction
Like we said earlier, while drug abuse and addiction are different, both are used interchangeably. In most cases, it’s often difficult to determine when drug abuse crosses the line into addiction. Many addiction specialists and mental health professionals no longer specify between abuse and addiction. Instead, they define drug addiction based on different severity levels that are characterized by a person’s relationship with drugs.
Treatment for Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction
Differentiating drug abuse and addiction will help you determine the severity of your drug use, making it easier to find a successful treatment. While support groups or counseling may be enough for those in the early stages of substance abuse, more severe addictions, typically require inpatient or detox treatment program.
How Can We Help?
At Live Free Structured Sober Living Homes, our team of substance abuse specialists provides treatment for drug abuse and addiction to get the help you need. We’ll first assess your individual needs so that we can give you the best possible care. Contact us today at 1.877.932.6757 to learn more about our Drug rehab in NH.
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