The distinction between “dependence” and “addiction” can be quite difficult to discern, but is there really a distinction? The answer is yes there is! Even though people continue to use both words interchangeably, it is important to draw a line between these two words as they are most often confused with each other. At Sublime Wellness Center, we always see first-hand the devastating consequences they both can have on individuals as well as their families; which is why we build our programs upon results. If you are willing to take the first step to save your life or the life of a loved one, then it behooves you to seek premier California addiction treatment from Creo Spero where we will guide you to successful rehabilitation both immediately and in the long-term.

Fighting Drug And Alcohol Dependence

When the term “dependence” is used, it refers to the response of the body and its reactions when one stops using the substance. In this case, the person has become so physically dependent on the substance that without it, he or she no longer feels comfortable and their body will show symptoms of “withdrawal”. It is important to note that a person who is dependent on a drug doesn’t necessarily have to show signs of actual addiction.

Treatment For Drug And Alcohol Addiction

The term “addiction” is used however to refer to something that goes beyond just the mere physical aspects of using the substance. Addiction, unlike the withdrawal discomfort, is a disease. The American society of addiction medicine terms it “a disease of the brain’s reward system.” With addiction comes a marked change in behavior where the addict actively seeks out the drug and feels compelled to take it due to biochemical changes in the brain after chronic substance use. Regardless of the harm they may cause to themselves or others, they still feel a strong urge to continue usage as a result of the brain’s chemical balances. Addiction moves beyond mere physical reliance on the substance to mental reliance.

Mental Dependence vs. Physical Dependence

Mental dependence is when a person always seeks out the drug as a result of certain events or feelings also known as “triggers”. Triggers are anything – people, places, events – that an addict emotionally associates with the substance that compels him/her to seek it out. Addiction is usually said to be present when the symptoms of both physical and mental dependence are in full flow. Nonetheless, it is when there is an almost irrational and uncontrollable desire to obtain and use the substance combined with a mental and physical dependence that addiction clearly becomes distinguishable from dependence.

Spotting the difference

So is it important to understand the difference between an addiction and substance dependence? Well, yes. Recognizing the distinction can better equip you to understand the nature of addiction. In fact, your understanding of addiction and dependence can serve as an invaluable tool in aiding recovery. It is important to note that whilst one can be dependent on a substance without being necessarily addicted, being continually dependent on a substance for quite a while frequently leads to addiction. Think you have an addiction or dependence issue, contact us as soon as possible.

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