Addiction vs Abuse

Addiction vs Abuse: What’s the Difference?

How do you know when a person’s use of drugs or alcohol crosses the line into substance abuse? If it does, when does it actually turned into addiction? Knowing the addiction vs abuse difference isn’t just of interest in academic debates; it can help you know when to take action.

Where do those lines lie?

It isn’t hard to tell the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction. Someone who has a drink or two of alcohol a day doesn’t abuse alcohol; it becomes alcohol abuse, however, if use rises to a level where it causes harm to the health.

The term substance abuse was, at one time, considered a medical definition; it no longer is, however. The medical profession tends to use terms such as harmful use or problematic use. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders uses the term substance abuse, but does so in a general way.

To take use of drugs or alcohol to harmful extremes is abuse. How do you know when it reaches the point where you need to be concerned, however? A number of behavioral clues often give abuse away.

What does drug abuse look like?

People who cross the line from regular use of drugs to an abusive habit tend to demonstrate a number of behavioral changes. They find it hard to keep up with work or school, they get into trouble with the law, become emotionally unstable, and have difficulties with personal relationships.

Increased tolerance to addictive substances, a drop in interest in activities previously enjoyed, and frequent failure at attempts at quitting, can be other possible symptoms.

What should you do?

When a person begins to demonstrate symptoms of drug abuse, it’s the best time to take action. It’s when addiction hasn’t yet set in the treatment tends to be the most effective.

Therapeutic help obtained at addiction rehab can go a long way toward ensuring long-term sobriety. At this stage, it tends to be easiest. Looking on the website of Better Addiction Care can help you find the treatment needed.

When does it become addiction?

It’s important to appreciate the recreational drug use vs abuse line. Recreational use doesn’t always turn into addiction. The change in nature of the habit comes about when abuse becomes extreme enough to cause certain kinds of harmful change to the way the brain functions. When these changes occur, the brain develops a mental disorder in which it experiences compulsive craving for access to addictive substances. It is accompanied by a lack of awareness of the harm caused by the habit.

A person who is addicted to a drug sees another form of change — he experiences withdrawal symptoms. Attempting to stop use will usually result in chemical disruption to the brain, with painful or harmful symptoms attendant.

Learn about substance abuse, and then act

It can be hard to act decisively against substance abuse when you don’t truly understand the nature of the phenomenon. The better the level of understanding that you gain about this affliction, the more effective you become at offering help, and finding the right kind of professional care for it.

It’s easy to make a number of mistakes dealing with addiction if you aren’t truly aware of how addiction works. You may, for instance, put off finding treatment in the mistaken belief that the addict needs to hit rock bottom; the truth is, hitting rock bottom is unnecessary. You may believe that you need to persuade the addict to seek treatment all by yourself; in truth, rehabs help with interventions. You may even get taken in by unreliable rehabs.

Finding quality, evidence-based treatment as early as possible, is the best way to help someone struggling with the habit. You can either call Better Addiction Care at 1.800.429.7690 to speak to a counselor, or look on the website to find a great rehab in your area.