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Abuse vs Addiction

Abuse vs Addiction

While the terms abuse and addiction are often used interchangeably, the reality is that they are each describing a different type of person. The terms do have some similarities in that they both negatively impact their lives. We’ll take a closer look at these two terms to better distinguish the difference between them. Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol may still have some sort of control over their lives, while those with addiction have a disease affecting every aspect of their life. Often those with an addiction may only seem to have an abuse problem, when the reality is that their life is falling apart. Alternately, those who may appear to have an addiction are actually coping with substance abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse do not disrupt a person’s life in a major way. It does not mean that abuse is acceptable. Substance abuse can cause damage to the body, mind, and spirit along with possible legal implications. A person runs the risk of overdose, organ damage, contracting infectious diseases, and other bodily harm. Mind-altering substances are also typically used as a coping mechanism for other problems, such as mental disorders. This combination can lead to worsened substance abuse and addiction if left untreated.

Identifying Substance Abuse

  • Inability to meet obligations and manage responsibilities, such as work, school, or family.
  • Legal problems caused by behaviors while under the influence
  • Physical harm caused to others due to the behavior of the individual while under the influence.

How to Recognize Addiction

  • Withdrawal – When not using drugs or alcohol, the individual will experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tolerance – A tolerance occurs when using more of the substance is required to achieve the desired effect.
  • The user is unable to stop using or cut down on use of substances.
  • A large amount of time is spent by the user to either obtain, use, or recover from the drug.
  • The individual continues to use the drug despite having knowledge of the negative consequences, including physical and psychological effects.

The main difference between abuse and addiction is that addiction is a disease that affects the person’s entire life. An individual with addiction will make tragic decisions that worsen their situation. Those with addictions have a chemical dependency preventing them from changing on their own. With addiction, cravings for the substance leads to neglecting daily life and behaving irresponsibly. The only way to make serious change with addiction is through focused medical attention. The addiction treatment team at Silicon Beach Outpatient Center is here to help you or your loved one overcome the grasp of drugs and alcohol. Silicon Beach Outpatient Center is a substance abuse treatment center located in Los Angeles, California. Our team provides outpatient and intensive outpatient addiction treatment. Contact us today at 310.846.8215.  

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