Abuse vs Addiction
You must have seen drug rehabilitation centers or come across their ads in magazine and internet. Abuse and addiction are two words that are always used in connection with drugs or substances that have withdrawal symptoms to make a person addictive. Abuse and addiction have a very thin line dividing. It is hard to tell if a person is abusing a substance or has an addiction for it, which is why people remain confused between abuse and addiction. This article attempts to highlight the features of abuses and addiction to clarifying the situation.
Abuse is use that is not healthy for a person. Social drinkers, when they remain within limits prescribed by doctors and Federal government, are said to be using alcohol rather than abusing it. Using alcohol more than is healthy is said to be abuse of alcohol and the same applies to many other substances such as drugs. This level of use intoxicates and impairs judgment, as well as moral values, yet does not classify as dependence or addiction, which is when the person is unable to remain away from the substance for a certain period. Drug or alcohol abuse is a common phenomenon, especially in teenage and youth, particularly before the age of 30. Substance abuse can turn into addiction without any warning signals, though there are many abusers who easily give up on their habit upon physical or behavioral therapy. Once abuse reaches addiction levels, individuals develop dependence that is hard to give up.
Addiction is chemical dependence, which is experienced when the individual cannot remain away from the drug for a considerable period. He develops withdrawal symptoms that are like craving for the substances, and it is more a disease of the brain than body. This happens as the body develops resistance to a particular dose of the drug and requires more and more quantity to produce the same effect. This grows to dangerous proportions, and it becomes necessary to take the individual to a rehabilitation center, to make him give up the drug. Addiction for a drug is independent of a person’s social status, income group, religion gender, age, or ethnicity. When a person has, no control over him as far as intake of a mood-altering drug is concerned, it badly interferes with his normal life, and he is said to be addicted to that drug.
It is possible to abuse a substance without being addicted to it. In fact, different people have different levels of tolerance to addiction, and they do not become dependent on a drug even after consuming it a number of times, whereas there are many who become addictive to a drug consuming it just once.
When a person cannot remain without a substance or drug and shows withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, shaking, nausea etc when stopped from consuming the drug, is called addiction. Although it begins with abuse, the user himself does not know when he has become addicted to the substance like cigarette or alcohol while abusing it. There are abusers who do not become addicted to drug even after continued use as they have tolerance to it, while some become addicted with a onetime use. Addiction requires counseling and rehabilitation to come over the habit.