There is a fine line between drug dependence and drug addiction. However, understanding where the line is and what differentiates each can help you get the right treatment for your condition. Addiction treatment centers in Maryland offer recovery programs designed to help you regardless of whether you have a drug addiction or dependency.
Keep in mind that some treatment centers and organizations use both terms interchangeably. Other drug rehab centers prefer to use other words to describe the condition (alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder). Due to the lack of consistency in assigning a name, it is important to understand the difference between drug dependence and drug addiction. Fresh Start Recovery can help!
What is Drug Dependence?
The word dependence implies that the brain and body are physically dependent on a drug. Dependency occurs as a result of repeated exposure to the drug. Over time, the brain and body adapt to the drug’s presence, even altering functions to build a tolerance to the drug’s effects. When the drug is no longer present, the body goes through withdrawal symptoms.
Dependence largely impacts the brain and central nervous system. The brain may reach the point where it only functions normally with the presence of the drug. This reaction occurs because there is a disruption in the brain’s chemical balance. As the brain builds a tolerance to the drug, the user becomes dependent on using the drug. They may need to get help at a substance abuse treatment program.
What is Drug Addiction?
Addiction is characterized by a person’s inability to stop using the drug. In the early stages of addiction, someone may realize that they have a drinking problem and decide to do something about it. If caught early, they can put down the drug and move on. However, in the later stages of addiction, the user finds it difficult to stop using the drug.
They may go through the typical cycle of stopping and relapsing. Eventually, they lose the will to stop and continue the addiction regardless of the consequences. People addicted to drugs often deny that they have a problem. It’s only when they enter a drug addiction treatment program that they realize how their addiction has affected their lives.
What is the Difference Between Addiction and Dependence?
It is possible to become dependent on drugs without forming an addiction. Someone can take drugs heavily for several days in a row. Their brain may adapt to the ongoing presence of the drug in the body. Within a month, they may become dependent on the drug. If they stop using the drug, they may experience some withdrawal symptoms. However, if they stop using the drug altogether, they may not be addicted to its effects.
Several factors determine whether a person has a dependency or addiction, such as:
- Length of use
- Failed attempts at stopping
- Method of use
- Types of drugs
- Causes of addiction
- Combination of drugs
The longer a person uses a drug, the more likely their dependency will turn into an addiction. They become accustomed to starting a routine of using the drug each day. As the pattern becomes ingrained into the user’s psyche, they may reach the point where they feel as though they can’t live without it. Furthermore, they can’t quit even if they want to. Their brain is too attached to the drug.
Learn More About Drug Rehab at Fresh Start Recovery Center
Knowing the difference between drug dependence and drug addiction can help you get the right treatment for your condition. If you need help with addiction, contact Fresh Start Recovery Center at 833.625.0398, or contact us online. Our drug rehab center can help you get on the road to recovery.