top of page
  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

What Do Substance Abuse and Addiction Mean?

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

What Do Substance Abuse and Addiction Mean?

The difference between substance abuse and addiction is very slight. Substance abuse means using an illegal substance or misusing a legal substance. Addiction begins as abuse, or using a substance like marijuana or cocaine.

You can abuse a drug (or alcohol) without having an addiction. For example, just because someone smoked pot a few times doesn't mean that they have an addiction, but it could lead to one.

People can get addicted to all sorts of substances. When we think of addiction, we usually think of alcohol or street drugs. But people become addicted to prescription medicines, cigarettes, even sniffing glue.

Some substances are more addictive than others: Drugs like crack or heroin are so addictive that they might only be used once or twice before the user loses control.

Addiction means a person needs a drug, even if they know it has bad consequences. Addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.

Physical Addiction

Being physically addicted means a person's body becomes dependent on a particular substance (even vaping is physically addictive). It also means building tolerance to that substance, so that a person needs a larger dose than before to get the same effects.

Someone who is physically addicted and stops using a substance like drugs, alcohol, or nicotine may have withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of withdrawal are diarrhea, shaking, and generally feeling awful.

Psychological Addiction

Psychological addiction happens when the cravings for a drug are psychological or emotional. People who are psychologically addicted feel overcome by the desire to have a drug. They may lie or steal to get it.

A person crosses the line from abuse to addiction when they aren't just using the drug to have fun or get high, but have come to depend on it. Their whole life centers around the need for the drug. An addicted person — whether they have a physical addiction, psychological addiction, or both — no longer feels like they have a choice about using a substance.

Contact 9833998907

0 views0 comments


bottom of page