Abuse vs. Addiction

man with substance abuse problemMany people believe that substance abuse and addiction both refer to the same thing. However, although both refer to a condition commonly associated with drug and alcohol use, they actually have very different meanings.

The information below provides insight into the differences between substance abuse and addiction and will help people better recognize the problems if their loved ones have been engaging is the use of drugs or alcohol.

The Definition of Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse refers to the condition in which an individual exhibits one or more of the following behaviors over a 12 month period:

  • Performance at work or school suffers as a result of drug or alcohol use
  • Takes part in reckless behaviors associated with the use of drugs or alcohol that endangers their safety as well as the safety of others. (For example, driving while intoxicated)
  • Continuing to use the substance even though it is causing stress and strain on personal relationships.
  • Having legal problems, financial problems or problems with the police as a result of their alcohol or drug use.

The Definition of Addiction

The more severe of the two conditions, alcohol or drug addiction refers to the condition in which a person has shown one or more of the following important psychological or psychical signs and symptoms:

  • Has developed a tolerance to drugs or alcohol -meaning it takes more and more of the substance over time to achieve the desired effect.
  • Experiences psychological or physical withdrawal symptoms after halting use of the drugs or alcohol they had been using habitually
  • Is unable to stop using alcohol or drugs even after repeated attempts to do so.
  • Ingests dangerous amounts of the drug in question

Understanding the Differences Between Substance Abuse and Addiction

The most important thing to know about the difference between these two conditions is that substance abuse can lead to addiction (and not the other way around). That is why it is so important, especially when young people are involved, to help address the issue of substance abuse before grows into a much more significant problem.

With certain groups of people, such as teenagers, women and dual diagnosis patients, the shift from substance abuse to addiction is must faster and therefore the problem needs to indentified and addressed much more quickly.

What Substances Play a Role in Substance Abuse and Addiction?

Substance abuse and addiction can refer to any individual who is drinking alcohol or taking drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, prescription painkillers, stimulants or other drugs. In addition, addiction can also refer to compulsive behavior regarding sex, gambling, Internet use and other activities.

Whether an individual is struggling with substance abuse issues, or in the throes of a full-blown addiction Michael’s House can help when all seems hopeless. The caring staff at Michael’s House is made up of expert medical professional and caring counselors who have devoted their lives to helping those who have a problem with drugs or alcohol.

Contact Michael’s House today at 1-877-345-8494 for more information.

Speak with an Admissions Coordinator 877-345-8494