Is there a difference between substance dependence and addiction? YES.
|Substance dependence is a physical dependence on a drug such as opioids that the body needs. Dependence refers to a physical condition in which the body has adapted to the presence of a drug.
Without the substance, the body goes into withdrawal and the user experiences withdrawal symptoms such as pain and body aches, headaches, nausea, agitation, irritability, depression, insomnia, sweating, and others. However, unlike addiction, dependence to a drug does not chemically alter the brain. Dependence can be managed with medication treatment to ease withdrawal symptoms as the user slowly tapers the use of the drug.
|Addiction is classified as a disease. Addiction involves an uncontrollable craving for a drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.”
As a substance chemically alters the brain, cravings for that drug increase. An addict cannot control his or her drug use and feels as if he must have the drug to live. Addiction involves reversing (as much as possible) damage and changes to the brain that cause the intense cravings. Addiction recovery, therefore, is a longer-term process that involves behavioral therapy to replace addictive behaviors.
Did you know that substance abuse often begins in adolescence?