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Chemical Dependency Versus Substance Abuse

chemical dependency versus substance abuse - rehabilitation - great oaks recovery center

Let’s take a look at the difference between a chemical dependency and a substance use disorder.

Chemical dependency:

When one becomes dependent on a chemical such as alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication, the body has reached a state in which it requires the substance in order to function normally. If the body doesn’t get the drug, it will experience withdrawal symptoms. One sign of approaching chemical dependency is when the body develops tolerance to a substance. This means that more of the substance is required to achieve the same physical or mental effect.

Substance use disorder:

Substance use disorder describes a pattern of using a substance that causes significant problems or distress. The person has developed a physical dependence on the substance as well as a mental and psychological addiction. It becomes almost impossible for them to stop taking the substance without medical help, even if they want to. Someone with a substance use disorder may put themselves in dangerous situations when under the influence: driving, operating machinery, and engaging in aggravated behaviors, for example. Other signs of substance abuse may involve failure to fulfill responsibilities and legal actions related to substance use.

The medical definition for addiction/substance use disorder is as follows: “Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.”

If you or a loved one is suffering from chemical dependency or addiction, please seek professional help. Contact us anytime at (877) 977-3268.