However, the desire to avoid withdrawal is what can eventually lead to addiction. Different prevention methods can be used depending on whether the substance is prescribed or can be found over-the-counter or elsewhere. If you are experiencing addiction vs dependence a medical emergency and need immediate care, call 911. Jonathan N. Stea, Ph.D., R. Psych, is a registered and practicing clinical psychologist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary.

Some working-group members voted in favor of a return to the use of the word ‘addiction’ because the word has become so commonplace in recent years and does not seem pejorative to them. The media has stories about ‘addiction to oil’ and women wear tee-shirts emblazoned with ‘addiction to pink’ or to shopping, etc. Of course, connotations of words change with time and culture; we acknowledge that there are no current studies that can be cited on whether the choice of labels might be pejorative. Because some scientists remain opposed to the use of the word ‘addiction’, we proposed a compromise.

Physical Dependence Definition

Getting and using drugs become the main focal point in the person’s life, despite any and all consequences that may follow. For example, if a person is arrested for using drugs and leaves jail to pick up more, they’ve likely developed an addiction. Addiction causes individuals to act erratic or irrational when they cannot get more of their drug of choice. One reason people fall into addiction involves persistent myths surrounding it, like the belief that addiction is a failure of mental discipline or self-control, or that it affects only certain socioeconomic groups.

  • SUD can have devastating, life-long consequences if not addressed.
  • APA Services advocates for policies, programs, and funding to improve the prevention and treatment of opioid and other substance use disorders, including nonpharmacological interventions for pain management.
  • Not all physical dependency should be treated as something to be fixed, though.
  • However, there are clear differences between the two terms, several of which deal with the chemical effects that happen to addicted persons.
  • The pain is so randomly up and down that it’s kind of hard to track it.
  • Dependence is characterized by tolerance or withdrawal symptoms, and can be a consequence of many drugs, such as pain medications, stimulants, and antidepressants.

There was a significant disagreement, however, among members of the committee with respect to the label that should be used. They argued in favor of the more neutral term ‘dependence’, as the discussions were influenced heavily by work on the alcohol dependence syndrome by Professor Griffith Edwards and colleagues [1]. When someone is addicted to a substance, it’s not uncommon for their loved ones to refer to them as having an “addiction” to certain behaviors or describe them as someone that is “dependent” on alcohol or drugs. People tend to use the words “addiction” and “dependent” interchangeably to describe a person’s behavior when engaged in a certain activity, as well as the results of the behavior when it leads to a physical illness. However, there are clear differences between the two terms, several of which deal with the chemical effects that happen to addicted persons.

Digital Support Group – Addiction Recovery

Additional training in assessment and diagnosis for physician trainees at the medical school level is also needed. Most medical schools only devote a few hours over four years to teaching addiction medicine, a mere fraction of the time devoted to other chronic diseases encountered in general practice [8]. As a result, many physicians are ill-equipped to differentiate addiction from dependence due to a lack of expertise. Other professionals who diagnose addiction (e.g. social workers, physician assistants, nurse-practitioners, addiction counselors) also need better education about these distinctions. Addiction has harmful physical, psychological, and social effects. When addicted to a substance, a person cannot stop using it despite the negative consequences it has on their life.

addiction vs dependence

Physical dependency on a drug can manifest as tolerance to the substance or as withdrawal. These are considered symptoms of SUD, however they don’t need to be present for the diagnosis of SUD to be made. Tolerance is when you need larger amounts of the drug to get the same effect. Withdrawal symptoms are physical symptoms that occur when the substance is decreased or stopped as the body readjusts to not having the substance. Caffeine is an example of a common substance that causes physical dependence. If you can’t function properly in the morning without your cup of coffee, it could be that you are caffeine-dependent.

Substance dependence and abuse

I don’t see it as an addiction at all, rather a need in my body to regulate my brain chemistry. «Physical dependence on a substance (drug or alcohol) may be a component of addiction, but it does not itself equal addiction. While drug addiction affects the reward pathways of the brain (including the mesolimbic pathway and the mesocortical pathway), dependence affects the thalamus and brainstem. When someone is dependent, their body adapts to a drug and requires more of it to achieve the same effect. No longer taking that drug produces symptoms, including withdrawal syndrome. But our genetic makeup doesn’t necessarily rule our choices
and our lives.

addiction vs dependence

Many patients are often confused as to how they can be dependent on a drug, such as an opioid, but not be addicted to it. The distinction is essential for patients and caregivers to understand. This is why recent evidence-based literature clearly defines the difference between addiction and physical dependence in drug use.

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When they are triggered, it creates changes in the brain that influence addictive behaviors. In the United States and around the world, substance abuse disorders are increasingly common. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), almost 20 million American adults battled a substance use disorder in 2017. That year, roughly 74 percent of adults had an alcohol use disorder and about 38 percent of adults had an illicit drug use disorder. If someone with a drug dependence detoxes, especially by slowly decreasing the amount of the medication they take over a period of time, they may suffer withdrawal symptoms, but can end that physical dependence.

Program Helping Babies, Mothers With Opioid Dependence Receives More Funding – West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Program Helping Babies, Mothers With Opioid Dependence Receives More Funding.

Posted: Tue, 19 Sep 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]