Drug Tolerance vs Dependence and Addiction FHE Health FHE Health

When addicted to a substance, a person cannot stop using it despite the negative consequences it has on their life. Recognizing the difference between an addiction and substance dependence can help to better understand the nature of addiction. Knowing as much as possible about addiction and dependence can also be a valuable tool in achieving recovery.

Opioid Addiction – Pain Relief – Signs of Addiction familydoctor.org – FamilyDoctor.org

Opioid Addiction – Pain Relief – Signs of Addiction familydoctor.org.

Posted: Mon, 30 Oct 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Certain drugs are known to be more physically addictive than others, making it more likely that a person will develop a physical dependence (i.e. heroin, cocaine, or meth vs marijuana or alcohol). For instance, you can be addicted to a drug without feeling a physical dependence on it. It is also possible for someone to realize their dependency and to stop taking the drug before they become fully addicted to it. There is addiction vs dependence a difference between mental or physical dependence vs. addiction, and it is important to remove the stigma. People who are no longer addicted to drugs yet are still receiving medication treatment for substance use disorder should not need to be labeled as addicted when their behavior towards drugs has changed so drastically. Misdiagnosis can have detrimental effects and therefore should be avoided as much as possible.

How Does Tolerance Occur?

The intention behind this terminology to describe addiction is because it includes both dependence and addiction under one umbrella while not ignoring the difference between dependence and addiction. Addictive disorders are highly treatable, and treatment at an inpatient or outpatient rehab can greatly increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety. People with physical dependence may benefit from inpatient detox or rehab to ensure a safe and successful withdrawal, and anyone with an addiction should seek out addiction treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol dependence, reach out today to a treatment specialist to explore what treatment options are available. While it isn’t possible to develop an addiction to a substance without repeated use, addictions can form more quickly and easily in certain people.

When someone is dependent on a drug and begins to experience physical withdrawal symptoms as well as mental symptoms, he/she is showing signs of addiction. These changes have already been presented publicly at meetings of the American Psychiatric Association, the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD). At the 2009 CPDD meeting the audience was asked if there were any problems with the use of the word ‘addiction’ as a diagnosis, and there were no objections.


In fact, it’s very important for medical professionals to get this right and differentiate between physiological dependence and the more complicated addiction construct because the diagnosis will help point to the best treatment option. The solution in the DSM-5 was to combine the categories of «substance dependence» and «substance abuse» into one category called «substance use disorder» under a chapter heading called Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders. The purposeful use of the term «Addictive Disorders» in the naming of this chapter was primarily due to the addition of «gambling disorder» to the DSM, a non-substance-related disorder. And here, too, among the committee members, the decision to introduce the term «addictive» into the DSM-5 was arrived at through disagreements and non-consensus. Addiction has harmful physical, psychological, and social effects.

I had been taking 30mg tid, but when I restarted it I only got up to 15mg tid. I decided to try stopping it, and I’m down to 15mg in the morning. The pain is so randomly up and down that it’s kind of hard to track it. I haven’t experienced any negative side effects in the tapering off process, so I don’t think that it could be said that I was addicted to it. It is possible to be physically addicted not to have a brain disease. In a paper written for Training about Alcohol and Substance Abuse for All Primary Care Physicians, published in 1995 by the Josiah Macy, Jr.

The difference between dependence and addiction

And as the user takes higher amounts to feed this side, the secondary effects of respiratory depression (slowed down breathing or lack of breathing) and breathing are doubled or tripled. It is in this so-called differential tolerance where the users usually overdose. For instance, someone who is on a prescription for pain medication may find that he needs increasing amounts of dosage for the medication to work. Some doctors may diagnose this as an increasing tolerance, or it might be disguised as the possible start of an addiction issue. Studies have shown that addiction can form in individuals through a combination of genetic makeup and poor social skills.

addiction vs dependence

It causes uncontrollable behavior when it comes to getting and using the drug of choice. Could someone who is dependent on alcohol or drugs be diagnosed as having an addiction? The terms “addiction” and “dependence” are often used interchangeably, but there are differences between the two. People who are addicted to a substance use it even if it has no medical benefit. They use the substance no matter what and despite the consequences.

Different Severities of Dependency

Mental dependence is when use of a substance is a conditioned response to an event or feeling. These are known as “triggers.” Something as simple as the act of driving can trigger a desire to use. These triggers set https://ecosoberhouse.com/ off biochemical changes in a person’s brain that strongly influence addictive behavior. Addiction is marked by a change in behavior caused by the biochemical changes in the brain after continued substance abuse.

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