The Difference Between Dependence and Addiction

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The distinction between physical dependence and addiction can be difficult to comprehend since there’s so much overlap between them. Addiction, by definition, necessitates dependence; however, dependence doesn’t necessarily indicate that you have an addiction.
Over time, we build a tolerance to substances and require higher and higher doses to achieve the same effects. Dependence isn’t bad when it comes to prescription drug treatments; you’re supposed to become dependent on those (and to taper off eventually). It’s when dependence drives someone to misuse that the addiction cycle begins.

Tolerance and Withdrawal

To compensate for alterations, our brain changes its chemical makeup. That’s homeostasis, and important bodily function that kicks in whenever we use mood-altering substances, including some found in food or natural herbs. If your brain doesn’t sense that you need extra dopamine, serotonin, or another neurotransmitter, it slows production.
That’s all fine–until those alterations halt. Drug withdrawal symptoms, whether they’re from heroin or even marijuana, are the manifestation of the brain desperately trying to retain homeostasis.

Addiction

Addiction is marked the continual pursuit of pleasure from drugs–going beyond homeostasis. Alongside tolerance and withdrawal, addiction can be fleshed out by looking for the following signs:
– Overusing/misusing (taking more than prescribed or altering the route of administration)
– Inability to abstain or cut down despite desire
– A great deal of time spent obtaining or thinking about obtaining more of a substance
– Neglected responsibilities (school, work, etc) because of substance use
– Continued use of a substance despite problems it imposes on life
Risks
Many people assume that prescription meds are safe, even for non-patients, since they come from doctors. The reality is far, far different. Prescription drugs are prescription-marked because they’re powerful. The temptation to misuse is always a risk. If you or someone in your family does have a history of addiction, the risk is much greater.
There is also the unfortunate reality that nobody, not even doctors, are perfect. If you feel like your assigned dosage of something is misjudged, don’t try to compensate on your own; voice those concerns to your physician, because they matter. Pay close attention to how you feel while taking your prescription. You should feel normal, not depressed, foggy-brained, or overly excitable.
If you’re ready to get your addiction under control and finally be free, get detoxed ASAP and then call us start your rehab journey: 949-637-5499

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I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

Megan
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