Substance Abuse vs Addiction: The Differences & Why it Matters

Substance Abuse vs Addiction: The Differences & Why it Matters


Every year, 44,000 people die from drug overdoses. This shocking statistic includes those who
are addicted to drugs and those who are abusing and using drugs. The number doesn’t include alcohol-related
deaths. Drug use, abuse, dependence, and addiction
are serious problems in today’s world, but in order to help those affected, understanding
abuse vs addiction is key. Whether you’re suffering from drug or alcohol
abuse or addiction, or your loved one is, this guide will provide the information you
need in order to start seeking or offering help. Let’s take a look at the differences and
what you can do about them. Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is defined as using drugs despite the fact that the use has become a
problem in one’s life. This is where abuse differentiates from use–the
key is the substance must cause a problem. The other key is the user must continue to
use despite that. Abuse can begin without the user or anyone
else noticing any negative consequences or results. For example, Sue might notice her friend and
coworker Joanna drinks a lot socially. Joanna might be able to function at work,
so Sue thinks nothing of Joanna’s drinking. Over time, the user continues to use the substance,
so negative consequences might start to become apparent. Maybe Joanna starts coming in late to work
and missing important meetings. When Substance Abuse Is A Problem
How do you determine if someone’s substance use has become substance abuse? You look for negative consequences. Let’s look at the example of Joanna and Sue
more closely. Joanna breaks off a long-term romantic relationship
and stops going out with Sue and other friends for Wednesday happy hour. Joanna’s work performance continues to slip. Joanna often talks about her favorite cocktails,
and on Saturday mornings, Sue can smell alcohol on Joanna’s breath. One night, Joanna is pulled over while driving
under the influence. She’s arrested and calls Sue from the police
station. Joanna’s alcohol use has become a problem
in her life, and over the course of several months, Sue has noticed it more and more. Substance Dependency
Dependency occurs when a user’s brain starts to change in response to a substance. Specifically, dependency impacts the brain
stem and/or the thalamus. The brain stem controls many of the essential
functions of the body, such as the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. The thalamus is responsible for sending signals
relating to alertness and motor movements. Both substance abusers and substance addicts
can suffer from dependency. The difference between abuse and addiction
is that the latter doesn’t affect everyone, but dependency can affect anyone. Substance Addiction
Because of the way drugs and alcohol alter the operation of a person’s brain, addiction
is considered a brain disease. Addiction is a chronic and relapsing condition,
so loved ones and addicts must exercise continued vigilance, even after treatment. The changes the brain undergoes can lead to
consequences that are lifelong. Those changes can spur former addicts to act
differently, even engaging in self-destructive or harmful actions. When Is Someone Addicted? In 2014, 1 in 12 people suffered from drug
addictions. This number excludes alcohol addiction. Substance addiction is a serious epidemic,
typically diagnosed when a person meets at least three of the following criteria over
the course of 12 months: tolerance, withdrawal, overuse, user tries but fails to quit, the
substance takes up a large amount of time, the user gives up professional and personal
activities, and the user continues use no matter the consequences. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with
substance abuse or addiction, an intervention may be a good starting point. You may want to consider is hiring a professional
facilitator for an intervention if you plan to have one. Other treatments might include therapy for
the individual. In some cases, group therapy may be most helpful. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction,
find a rehab center to get the help you need. You can also visit our site for more info
and resources for substance abuse. If you enjoyed this video, don’t forget
to like, comment, and subscribe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *