The terms drug addiction and drug abuse get used and misused so frequently in our society. There is, however, a difference. The only problem is that very few know what that difference is. One centers around the use of the drugs, while the other one focuses on the way the drugs are being used. One is psychological and the other is physical. The irony is that a person can abuse drugs, while not being addicted to them. This is main difference which confuses a lot of people.
In order to understand the difference between drug addiction and drug abuse more clearly, we must first look at the central tone of the subject. In the beginning, every user starts off the same. One small “hit” is all it takes to get a person high. Once the body becomes used to that effect, it will start building up a tolerance. After that initial feeling it’s going to take more and more drugs to capture the same feeling. This is what we call tolerance. As the tolerance level becomes greater, so does the need for more drugs.
It also depends on how often the person uses. If someone only uses an occasional amount, it’s going to take longer for the drugs to take hold. If the person uses every day, the physiological and psychological impact will be greater.
This is not about tolerance at all. Tolerance doesn’t even enter the picture for this definition. What does enter the picture is the frequency of the use and the effects it has on the person’s body and mental state. Most of the time it will be a negative impact. It does take time for a person’s abuse to take hold. It can take anywhere from 6 months to a year. If the person takes more drugs, then it won’t take much time.
Symptoms of drug abuse include:
If you know someone who falls into just one of these categories, he or she is abusing. Keep in mind, they are not necessarily an addict. It does happen, but it’s not always a pre-requisite in this situation.
This encompasses the above definition, but it’s more involved. These individuals know they have an issue, but refuse to seek treatment. These individuals will even go through withdrawal, when not in use. Depending on how far advanced the addiction is, the person could feel withdrawal even after a few hours.
Symptoms of drug addiction include:
The DSM doesn’t actually include this definition in their tables. They use “substance abuse” instead. They are different terms, but still mean the same thing.
Eventually, most people who abuse drugs will develop an addiction. With most drugs being used today, the best option for overcoming drug addiction and drug abuse is an inpatient treatment program where there are trained, caring professionals to guide you every step of the way toward a lasting recovery.