Is there a difference between dependence vs. addiction? It’s hard for most people to see how these two components impact their lives and their ability to stop using drugs and alcohol. Yet, this concept is an important one. Understanding when you have a physical dependence and when you have an addiction can help you to see that there’s help available to you. At Bayview Recovery, we provide comprehensive support to meet each one of your needs.
Breaking Down Dependence VS Addiction
There is a significant difference between dependence vs. addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Addiction: Addiction occurs when there is an inability to stop using the drug. Addiction is when you compulsively use the drug even though you know that it is harmful to you. You want to stop but fail to do so on your own. You may fail to meet obligations at home, work, or school because of your addiction. It is also possible to struggle with tolerance, which occurs when you need to continue to use more and more of the drug to get the same impact or feeling. Sometimes, withdrawal occurs if you stop using it. Withdrawal symptoms include painful physical aspects as well as emotional needs and cravings.
Dependence: Those withdrawal symptoms define dependence. In short, physical dependence occurs when your body struggles to function as it should without the drug. It also tolerates more of the drug as you use it. Your tolerance requires you to use large doses to achieve the same result, whether that is pain relief, euphoria, or pleasure in another form. If you stop taking the drug, you are likely to have mental and physical symptoms, especially if you stop taking the substance abruptly. What makes physical dependence different is that it can happen when any drug you use chronically, including prescription drugs. Even if you take the medication as your doctor instructs you, you can develop a physical dependence on it.
Where’s the Difference, Then?
When you consider this, you may still be wondering what the dependence vs. addiction difference is. In short, physical dependence can occur with any drug. However, being physically dependent on a drug in and of itself is not enough to say that a person is addicted to it. On the other hand, the two often go hand-in-hand.
It’s also not easy to know if you have a physical dependency or an addiction. This distinction is even more complicated when the drug is a prescription medication. If a condition is worsening and you need to take more of the drug to manage it, that does not mean you have an addiction to the drug either. Instead, it means that more medication is necessary to compensate for the worsening health condition. It is not because of the need to use the drug due to tolerance buildup.
What Should You Do If You Are Addicted?
When you consider dependence vs. addiction, you may recognize that you do have both. If so, that may signal it is time to seek an addiction treatment center like Bayview Recovery for immediate help. If you have an addiction, you may benefit from our treatment options, including:
- Women’s drug rehab
- Men’s drug rehab
- 12-step program
- Medication-assisted drug treatment
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Traditional outpatient treatment
- Partial hospitalization treatment
There is comprehensive care available to support you as you work towards recovery. In any case, where you feel you have a dependency or an addiction (or both), you should work with a licensed medical professional to help you to stop using the drug safely. This also includes providing you with support for any underlying condition that may warrant its use. Learn more about the help available to you when you meet with our team.
Your World Is Changing. Bayview Recovery Can Help Improve the Outcome
When you consider where you are living with dependence vs. addiction, there are many facets to think about, including your future. There is help available to you that can give you the support you need to improve your future. If you are ready for change or want that change for your loved one, it’s time to reach out to our licensed and experienced team. Call us at 855.478.3650 for immediate help.