What Is The Difference Between Addiction And Abuse?

Many people use the words addiction and abuse interchangeably, but drug and alcohol addiction and abuse are two different things. Both of them have the potential to affect a person’s life, but the difference is the degree to which they levy that control.

A person who with a substance abuse issue still has control over his or her life, even while using. Someone with a full-blown addiction is no longer in control of his or her life; the substance has taken over.

Drug And Alcohol Abuse

Someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol may be functioning reasonably well at work and at home. It doesn’t mean that they are not taking risks with their physical and mental health by drinking or using drugs. The longer they continue to use, the higher the risk of developing an infection disease, organ damage or having an overdose becomes.

There may also be economic or legal consequences from the drug or alcohol use from lost employment opportunities, to job loss to arrest for DUI. Even a casual user faces these effects if he or she turns to drugs to cope with life stresses, past traumas or strong emotions.

A drug or alcohol abuser is able to learn from negative consequences of substance abuse and make more positive choices going forward. It’s not the same situation for someone who is addicted, however.

Drug And Alcohol Addiction

The main difference between drug abuse and drug addiction is that addiction takes over a person’s life. The pursuit of the drug of choice, drinking or getting high, recovering from using, and finding more alcohol or drugs takes up a good part of an addict’s time. An addict will miss work or school, as well as time with friends and family, to feed the addiction.

It’s not uncommon for an addict to have financial, health or legal problems because of his or her addiction and continue to use. They have developed a chemical dependency that prevents them from stopping on their own. Cravings for their drug of choice will lead to them acting irresponsibly so that they can get their next “fix” of whatever it happens to be.

Addicts downplay the extent of their problem, and this type of denial is very common. They may blame outside circumstances for the problem, but the chemical dependency is the reason they cannot stop using.

The only way that an addict can stop using is by getting professional help. Summit Behavioral Health offers residential treatment for clients with drug and alcohol addiction. We know that each client is an individual and for that reason, each client receives an individualized treatment program.

Call us today for more information about our treatment program if you are concerned for yourself or a loved one.

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