Key Differences Between Abuse and Addiction

Key Differences Between Abuse and Addiction

Substance abuse and addiction are often used interchangeably, but they are slightly different. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol abuse drugs, but not everyone who abuses drugs has an addiction. It’s a complicated concept to understand, and it creates confusion for the families and friends of substance abusers. If your loved one has been drinking heavily this summer but claims they are just having fun, do they still need Phoenix addiction treatment?

In this post, we cover the basics of substance abuse and addiction, how they are different and why we recommend intervention for both.

Key Differences Between Substance Abuse and Addiction

  • Abuse can appear casual, addiction does not. That’s not to say that substance abuse isn’t serious, because it is. But, addiction is a progressive, compulsive disease that is not casual. The symptoms are usually more pronounced than someone who is abusing drugs and alcohol.
  • Addiction is almost always associated with withdrawal symptoms. When a person can’t get drugs or alcohol and then starts to experience withdrawal symptoms, it generally means they are addicted. Withdrawal symptoms are not always present with substance abusers.
  • Addiction is a mental disorder. It is considered a chronic disease that requires diligence long after seeking rehab in Phoenix. Substance abuse is not a diagnosis – it refers more to how a person uses drugs and alcohol. A substance abuser may drink a bottle of wine in a night, for example.
  • Addiction alters the brain permanently. Because it’s a disease, permanent changes in the brain can take place. These changes are brief and not permanent for substance abusers. Fortunately, researchers are learning that the brain is flexible and can be rewired with treatment and cognitive therapy.

Where Does Treatment Fit In?

If you or a loved one has a drug addiction, drug treatment in Phoenix is almost always necessary. It can be deadly to withdrawal from drugs or alcohol on your own, making medical detox a necessity. From there, you can continue with therapy and uncover some of the reasons for your addiction. For many clients, treating an underlying mental health condition is helpful to their recovery.

Substance abusers may not need treatment, but their use can quickly spiral into addiction. Because of this risk, we recommend seeking treatment in the form of outpatient care. You can still continue with your normal work or school schedule while learning new ways to cope with stress. Not only does this stop you from abusing drugs and alcohol, but also prevents you from developing an addiction.

If you’re not sure what type of treatment program is right for you, contact Continuum Recovery Center. We have inpatient and outpatient programs that can be tailored to your exact needs.

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