Recognizing and Understanding Addiction

Identifying a substance abuse problem can be a complicated process. While some signs of addictive behaviors are obvious, others are more difficult to recognize. Many people who realize they have a problem will try to hide it from family and friends, making it harder to tell whether someone is struggling

The Difference Between Addiction and Dependence

The terms “addiction” and “dependence” are often confused or used interchangeably. While there is some overlap, it’s important to understand the major differences between the two.

A dependence is present when someone develops a physical tolerance to a substance. They may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug altogether. Usually, a dependency is resolved by slowly tapering off the use of a particular substance.

On the other hand, an addiction occurs when extensive drug or alcohol use has caused a person’s brain chemistry to change. Addictions manifest themselves as uncontrollable cravings to use drugs, despite doing harm to oneself or others. The only way to overcome an addiction is through treatment.

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