The Difference between Addiction and Physical Drug Dependence

Posted in Drug Addiction

Drug addiction and drug dependence are two similar conditions. Because of this many Atlanta residents have difficulty knowing the difference between the two. If you are struggling with drug abuse, you may be unsure if you are addicted to drugs or if you have developed a drug dependence.

Drug Addiction vs. Drug Dependence

Dependence and addiction are not mutually exclusive. Many drug addicts also suffer from drug dependence. Drug addiction is a physical and psychological disease that centers on illegal or prescription drug use. In most cases Atlanta residents use a drug with no intention of becoming addicted to it. Users begin by taking small doses of the substance. However the user will form a tolerance to the drug and will no longer be able to feel its effects. In order to combat this the user will have to take a larger dose of the drug. This cycle continues, until the user cannot function without the drug in his or her system. This need is called a physical dependence. Dependence is also marked by withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are negative physical side effects that dependent users experience when they decrease their dosage or stop using their drug of choice. These side effects are the body and brain’s response to the sudden decrease of drugs in their system.

It is possible to be dependent on a drug without being an addict. This is most often seen in the use of prescription drugs. For example if a patient takes pain relievers to manage a condition that causes continual pain, he or she is dependent on the medication. Without it the patient would not be able to function due to the discomfort that he or she experienced. This can also be the case with patients with terminal illnesses and mental health issues. When a user forms an addiction to a drug, he or she feels uncontrollable urges to use called cravings.

Treatment for Drug Addiction and Dependence

Both drug addiction treatment and drug dependence treatment require a period of detox. Detox is the process in which a drug is removed from a user’s system. Atlanta residents must go through this process in a rehab facility or under the supervision of rehab professional, as withdrawal symptoms vary according to each drug and can be severe. The treatment for drug dependence ends with detox, while addiction treatment includes continuing individual and group counseling sessions.

Drug Addiction or Dependence Help for Atlanta Residents

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction or dependence, call our toll-free helpline today. Recovery counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about drug addiction, dependence and treatment. You do not have to live with the negative effects of drug abuse. Call us today, and let us help you begin your recovery.