Drug Addiction vs. Drug Abuse

Drug addiction and drug abuse are alike in many ways however treatment for both substance use disorders varies. Get the help you need before drug dependence turns into drug addiction.

What Are Differences Between Drug Addiction and Drug Abuse?

Drug Addiction and Drug Abuse

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A drug habit is an everyday battle for the individual and the people surrounding the individual. In the beginning, most outsiders may not realize someone is under the influence of drugs or struggling with drug addiction. Most drug users don’t believe they have a drug problem themselves until it’s out of control. Whether the person you know is struggling with drug addiction or drug abuse, the problem is dangerous and requires the assistance of a drug addiction treatment program.

Drug Addiction:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse definition,addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by intense compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, continued drug use regardless of harmful consequences, and deep-rooted changes in brain function. Addiction is considered both a compound brain disorder and a mental illness.

Drug Abuse:

Drug abuse is when you take drugs or substances not as intended or considered appropriate. Taking a prescription not as prescribed or in excess to achieve a high can be considered drug abuse. Drug abuse can include legal substances such as prescription medication or illegal substances purchased on the street, such as cocaine, meth, heroin, or crack cocaine.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

  • Participating in High-Risk Behaviors like unprotected sex and driving under the influence.
  • Ignoring responsibilities at school, work, or home.
  • Legal Issues, such as arrests, shoplifting, driving under the influence.

Physical Warning Signs of Drug Abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes, large pupils, or pin-drop pupils.
  • Changes in appetite, sleep patterns, physical appearance.
  • Unusual odors on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms.

Behavioral Signs of Drug Abuse

  • Reduced performance at work or school.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious activities.
  • Changes in aquaintances, new hangouts, and loss of interest in hobbies.

Psychological Warning Signs of Drug Abuse

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
  • Changes in Moood, increased irritability, zoned-out or outbursts of anger.
  • Fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason.

Causes of Drug Addiction and Drug Abuse:

Since both terms, by definition, are different, the cause of each is also different. Drug addiction, also referred to as a substance use disorder is an illness of the brain and the body which causes an uncontrollable compulsion to use drugs like nicotine, alcohol, cigarettes, medication, or street drugs. Factors such as genetics and environment play a role in what causes some people to become addicted to others. If someone in your bloodline has struggled with addiction, you are genetically predisposed and more likely to develop an addiction yourself. The environment contributes to whether or not someone will struggle with drug addiction. The company you keep, access to health care, education level, presence of drugs and alcohol within your home, age at which you first experiment with drugs and childhood experiences all contribute to developing an addiction.
On the other hand, drug abuse doesn’t cause the same compulsion to continue to use as an addiction. For example, a person can participate in drug abuse by taking more drugs than prescribed or one instance of binge drinking. In some cases, drug abuse doesn’t always lead to drug addiction; however, it doesn’t make it less dangerous. Individuals struggling with drug abuse or drug addiction would benefit from our drug detox centers in NJ.

Patterns of Behavior:

Individuals that suffer from drug addiction and drug abuse are both attempting to achieve the high or euphoria they feel when consuming alcohol or drugs. Both can result in damaging consequences to their career, family, health, and life. Drug addiction and drug abuse can result in drug dependence which impacts an individual’s sleep patterns, cognitive functions, executive functions, behavior, and appearance. Addiction and abuse can both cause an individual reliant upon the drug to lie, steal, cheat and do anything possible to achieve their next high. Family members of individuals struggling with substance use disorders need to be aware of warning signs. Someone wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt in 100-degree weather could hide track marks on their arms from intravenous drug use or extreme highs and lows in mood.

Being Around A Drug Abuse or Addiction Problem:

Most individuals do not realize they are developing a drug dependency or drug addiction until too late. They may have started on a low dose of a drug, and the dosage increased, and the length of time they have taken the drug has created a dependency out of their control. This often occurs with Benzodiazepines. Family members may only know the individual on the drug, and since that’s how they have always behaved, nothing seems off, or they may have already adapted to the behaviors. If you believe someone you love or care about is struggling with addiction, do not be afraid or embarrassed to seek help. A drug addiction treatment center can offer family intervention, detox, treatment, counseling, and aftercare planning to help you and your family with the resources they need. Addiction is a family disease in more than one way, and it affects millions of individuals and families worldwide. If you are uncertain or don’t know where to start, begin by finding an AA meeting, NA meeting, or family support group in your area. Hearing the experiences and struggles others just like you have will provide some insight into what to do and hopefully provide comfort that you are not alone. Many support groups are now also available online. If you are not ready to attend one of those, a doctor, teacher, or religious leader is another place to start.

Recognizing the signs of a problem is the first step in placing someone on the road to recovery. Taking that first step often takes extreme courage and strength. If you’re ready to help your family members face addiction and can get them to seek help through a rehab program, you are helping them build a healthy future. Most individuals will require substance abuse treatment in order to achieve long term recovery. Most treatment facilities provide inpatient rehab, inpatient treatment, group therapy, medication assisted treatment, behavioral health support, and alternative types of treatment.

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