The terms ‘drug abuse’ and ‘drug addiction‘ are often interchanged. But unknown to many, these two are very different. Drug abuse refers to using drugs more than what is normal or acceptable, while drug addiction refers to a behavioral disorder in which the drug has taken the front seat of the person’s life to the point that it guides all his actions and decisions.
A person who abuses drugs may be dependent on the drug to the point that he may even experience physical withdrawal symptoms. However, not all who abuses drugs are actually addicted to it. It is commonly a misnomer that the drugs alone cause the addiction and that anyone who uses drugs can be addicted. However, according to addiction experts and psychologists, only those who are neurophysiologically predisposed and are exposed to risk factors, develop addiction. For example,you need to always have your coffee and if you go a day without it, you will find yourself with a headache. However, if you have to lie to your spouse or family to get your coffee, then that is most likely addiction.
So What is Drug Abuse?
Any substance, from coffee to alcohol to prescription drugs, can be considered drug abuse even if it is not regularly used. For example, some people would only use ecstasy when they are in a party once in a while, and some people would use sleeping pills even if they can really sleep well. The drugs did not overcome their whole existence, so this is drug abuse and not addiction.
How Does One Become an Addict?
Brains of addicts, as studies show, are actually different from non-addicts. One person in his fifties can go his whole like just fine and then one day he gets introduced to cocaine and then the addiction begins. There is no pre-existing condition or personality type that makes one an addict. One does not have an addictive personality because, as science has proven, it is really the brain–the brain’s reward system–that makes the addict.
Knowing Which is Which
This said, drug abuse usually have an underlying condition associated with it, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. However, drug addicts do not need these reasons to start and keep on using. Although there may still be other disorders that occur along with addiction, chronic drug abusers who do not develop an addiction are usually the ones with underlying conditions.
By seeking help, you will know the root causes and conditions for your drug use (abuse or addiction), and find the right treatment that you need.
To help you sort it out and get started, you can talk to our rehab specialists today: