The difference between substance abuse and addiction involves the concept of dependency. Physical dependency involves experiencing withdrawal symptoms when a substance is removed from a person’s system. Psychological dependency occurs when a person feels uncomfortable or incomplete without the use of drugs. A person who abuses drugs would not be considered an addict unless their drug use continues in spite of health, social, and occupational consequences. At Crestview Recovery, we offer addiction treatment programs to help you at every step.
Origins of Drug Abuse and Addiction
Many experts agree that the stages of substance abuse and addiction begin with experimentation. People experiment with drugs and alcohol for various reasons. You or your loved one may have begun using drugs or alcohol due to youth, curiosity, peer pressure, or in an effort to deal with a problem. This does not have to be a result of being immature or naïve. Many cultures encourage drug and alcohol use as a viable go-to to deal with an issue. If this drug or alcohol use becomes a pattern, you may experience social, family, or financial consequences as a result. We cannot overstate the importance of seeking assistance during this stage. If a person is willing to accept assistance, it is much easier to prevent addiction than to treat it.
Using Drugs Consistently
Consistent use of drugs or alcohol is often the next phase. It doesn’t have to be every single day, but the use is more consistent. Your use might start out as once per month or on the weekends. The reasons for use are becoming consistent as well, whether it be stress or some other variable.
Problematic use follows, and there are certain negative circumstances that go along with the use. You may have experienced the loss of a job, a significant relationship, or a medical issue because your substance use has become problematic.
Addiction and dependence follow, and the increased use is now out of control. Your body has developed a dependence on the substance or alcohol. As stated above, substance abuse may have started earlier; however, there is now a physiological component that occurs with addiction. The following drug rehab programs can help a person at any stage of addiction:
Drugs and alcohol should never be an answer to another problem. There are alternatives to deal with the desire to use drugs. Even experimental drug use can develop into full-blown addiction depending on genetic factors, trauma, and culture. Indulging in mind and/or mood-altering substances can quickly develop into drug addiction.
How Is Substance Abuse Different from Addiction?
A pattern of destructive behavior associated with drug use is considered drug abuse. On the other hand, addiction involves a physical and psychological dependency. An addicted person needs dangerous drugs in order to feel normal, regardless of the consequences. Although many people experiment with alcohol and drugs, certain people are more likely to abuse drugs. The best way to prevent addiction is to seek treatment during the substance abuse stage. Physical dependency can be avoided altogether when people seek treatment before it starts.
Crestview Recovery: Alcohol and Opioid Treatment in Portland
Crestview Recovery provides addiction treatment for people in the Pacific Northwest. Our programming includes partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and aftercare treatment. We are more than a Portland drug rehab. Learn more about the treatment options at Crestview Recovery such, as:
- Outpatient drug rehab center
- Extended care addiction treatment program
- Medication management services
- Telehealth rehab program
Give one of our intake staffers a call at 866.262.0531. We are always here to help you understand the difference between substance abuse and addiction and how you can seek help at any phase.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.