Certain people react to drugs and alcohol in different ways, depending on their physical and psychological condition. One person can casually drink a glass of wine without a desire to drink the entire bottle, while another individual will actively pursue illegal opioids like heroin. The most frightening situation, however, is when a person uses drugs or alcohol for so long that they cannot function without consuming that substance. However, addiction and dependency are significantly different in terms of their side effects and stage in the recovery process.

Addiction is defined as a full-scale disease by health experts. Individuals suffering from addiction will continuously seek out drugs or alcohol despite experiencing potentially life-threatening symptoms. In most cases, these people require intervention and rehabilitation to separate from the substance. Addicts are not always dependent or tolerant of the drugs or alcohol they consume.

Dependence is a state of being that occurs when a person cannot physically or mentally function without ingesting drugs or alcohol. In this case, people who abstain from using a substance will experience a sometimes painful process called drug withdrawal, in which their bodies cleanse the chemicals from their system. During this time, victims can experience symptoms ranging from non-life threatening (in the case of caffeine dependency) to near-fatal (heroin overdose, alcoholism). People who are dependent on drugs or alcohol do not necessarily fall under the classification of addicts. In certain cases of dependency, victims can also experience tolerance, which occurs when they must take higher doses of a substance to achieve a “high.”

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADDICTION AND DEPENDENCE Under different circumstances, patients may develop a dependence on prescription drugs, particularly painkillers like morphine. This drug triggers reward centers of the brain, which can ultimately lead to a sensation of euphoria. This is especially true for cancer patients and victims of major injuries, whose bodies can become reliant on the sense of relief offered by painkillers. However, due to medical intervention and a controlled environment, these patients will typically not develop addictive tendencies down the road. Close monitoring and supervision on the part of doctors will ensure patients will live happy lives without the presence of addiction or dependence. 

Remember that there is always hope for you. Drugs and alcohol do not have control over your life. You do. If you are suffering from addiction or dependence or know someone who is suffering from these unfortunate circumstances, get in touch with Asana Recovery. Counselors and healthcare experts can walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and help guide you to a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While it might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to keep you and your unborn child safe.

The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your addiction troubles today.