Distinction between substance abuse and addiction: Eliminating the confusion and getting facts right

The distinction between substance abuse and addiction

Distinction between substance abuse and addiction is often very confusing, nonetheless knowing the distinction marks the beginning of proper healing from the scourge of addiction

We are all familiar with the terminologies addiction and substance abuse from our common knowledge through the various sources including the media and information we get from our friends who in one way or another have been addicted or cared for an addict. But we may not know is the finer details of the distinction between substance abuse and addiction. Even though from our common knowledge we may have an idea, it is always very important that the distinction comes out clearly. This is what we want to discuss through this article with a view of placing to its rightful position. Putting aside what you already know doctor Dalal Akoury who is a veteran addiction expert of several decades is registering that there is a very slim difference between substance abuse and addiction and this may be the reason why many people often think that they are the same. The fact is when we make reference to substance abuse, it would mean using or consuming an illegal substance or even using a legal substance or element but in the wrong way whereas addiction begins as an abuse, or using a substance like marijuana or cocaine in a way that in their absence life stops until you have an access to the substance of preference.

With that explanation, doctor Dalal Akoury (MD) President and founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center is saying that for sure one can actually abuse any drug or alcohol without being addicted to it or them. To illustrate that let us take as an example, just because an individual is smoking or smoked pot a few times doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she has an addiction to the pot, in the same way it does not also mean that by this single act of abusing a drug then it is automatic that this will lead to an addiction. This is not always the case and in fact people can get addicted to all sorts of substances. It is always the norm that when we think of addiction, we usually think of alcohol or illegal drugs yes this is true however the scope of addiction is wide and vast and people can become addicted to a number of substances including medications, cigarettes and even glue among many others.

These addictive substances also come in different ways and intensities. Like for instance some substances are more addictive than others, and that is why drugs like crack or heroin are so addictive that they might only be used once or twice before the user loses control. Therefore when we talk of addiction we must be careful to note that it is a condition that will cause and individual to lose the ability to be in control over their lives. And in fact with addiction the person has no control over whether he or she uses a drug or drinks alcohol. Therefore what that communicates id that anyone who is addicted to drugs like cocaine has grown so used to the drug that he or she must to have it by all means and at all cost. In other words you became the slave of that drug when addiction set foot in. There are two types of addiction which can affect anyone and that is to say that addiction can either be physical or psychological and sometimes and individual can suffer both.

Distinction between substance abuse and addiction: Physical addiction

Being physically addicted means a person’s body actually becomes dependent on a particular substance (even smoking is physically addictive). It also means building tolerance to that substance, so that a person needs a larger dose than ever before to get the same effects.

Someone who is physically addicted and stops using a substance like drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes may experience withdrawal symptoms. We have actually discussed in details some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal in the previous postings, however for the purpose of this article we can mention a few including: diarrhea, shaking, and generally feeling awful.

Distinction between substance abuse and addiction: Psychological addiction

Speaking to the experts from AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under the able leadership of doctor Dalal Akoury, Psychological addiction often happens when the cravings for a drug are psychosomatic or emotive. People who are psychologically addicted feel overcome by their desire to have their drug of choice and they will do everything including telling lies or stealing just to get the drug. It therefore means that a person is deemed to have crossed the line between abuse and addiction when he or she is no longer trying the drug to have fun or get high, but has come to depend on it. At this point his or her whole life centers on the need for the drug. An addicted person whether it’s a physical or psychological addiction or both no longer feels like there is a choice in taking a substance.

Distinction between substance abuse and addiction: Signs of addiction

The most obvious sign of an addiction is the need to have a particular drug or substance. However, many other signs can suggest a possible addiction, such as changes in mood or weight loss or gain. These also are signs of other conditions too, though, such as depression or eating disorders. The following are some of the indicators that you or someone you know may have a drug or alcohol addiction:

Psychological signals
  • Use of drugs or alcohol as a way to forget problems or to relax
  • Withdrawal or keeping secrets from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be important
  • Problems with schoolwork, such as slipping grades or absences
  • Changes in friendships, such as hanging out only with friends who use drugs
  • Spending a lot of time figuring out how to get drugs
  • Stealing or selling belongings to be able to afford drugs
  • Failed attempts to stop taking drugs or drinking
  • Anxiety, anger, or depression
  • Mood swings
Physical signals
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Feeling shaky or sick when trying to stop
  • Needing to take more of the substance to get the same effect
  • Changes in eating habits, including weight loss or gain

Finally having got the distinction between substance abuse and addiction, you can now make a self-evaluation on you or your loved ones and if you notice any indication of addiction, you must chose to take prompt decision towards getting help by scheduling for an appointment with doctor Akoury today for a more in-depth professional treatment today.

Distinction between substance abuse and addiction: Eliminating the confusion and getting facts right