Is There a Difference Between Dependence and Substance Abuse?

All too often, you will likely encounter and read all kinds of different terms if you are researching topics related to drug or alcohol abuse. You will commonly see terms such as substance abuse, chemical dependency, and much more, but what are the differences in the two mentioned terms? Aren’t they the same thing?

There is actually a difference between the two that you might not be aware of, and that can make a difference in the life of the person who is using drugs or alcohol.

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The Subtle Differences

Generally, you can expect these terms to mean the following things:

·    Substance abuse is when someone is using drugs or alcohol in excess. Repeated substance abuse can lead into patterns that can become significant problems in the user’s life, such as skipping school, missing work, or worse, choosing to drive a vehicle while intoxicated.

·    Chemical dependency is when someone has used a drug so much that their body becomes dependent on receiving the drug to properly function. With enough use, this can happen with any drug, including pills, alcohol, and illegal substances such as heroin or methamphetamine.

No matter what the addict’s drug of choice is, enough of it will lead to chemical dependency, which will lead to withdrawals being necessary to detox properly later on. Effectively, someone can abuse substances without necessarily being chemically dependent on them, but with enough time and enough use, it is highly possible that the user will become chemically dependent on the substance.

This is why it is important to stop any drug use or excessive drinking you might be doing as soon as you can and seek help from a professional before it turns into to a chemical dependency problem. If you know someone who is in this position, you should encourage them to do the same. If you believe you or someone you care about is chemically dependent on a substance, feel free to reach out to chemical dependency care winter park professionals to help get you back to a sober life.