Addiction vs Dependence Difference and Comparison

The body adjusts to this use – though that adjustment is not necessarily a good thing. However, some people may not see as much of a reaction to a drug that other people do. However, tolerance does not always require long-term use to happen. In fact, a tolerance to drugs such as cocaine can occur from a single usage.

  • The difference between addiction and dependence can be difficult to understand.
  • Treatment plans are not always necessary for physical dependence.
  • For a person to be diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, they must be consistently using alcohol or drugs.
  • Research suggests that no treatment method is superior, but that social support is very important and that organizations such as AA and NA have better than average success rates in reducing relapse.
  • But the ICD has yet to catch up and since American billing systems and other records often rely on ICD, this conflation continues to cause problems both in the United States and rest of the world.

We encourage you to take action to enter into a treatment program for drug or alcohol abuse if you feel that you are in any level of this process. Doing so can help to change your life and it can give your body the ability, tools, and resources it needs to overcome the addiction you are facing. Our team at FHE Health can provide treatment options to help if you are struggling with substance abuse to overcome your addiction, no matter which of these phases you are working through. Help is available to you immediately for any level of care that you may need without our programs. This international committee met over several years in cities such as Washington, Copenhagen and New York, and their work was published in 1987 as DSM-III-R (revised). This was an important achievement because the committee agreed that the disorder in question was compulsive, uncontrolled, drug-seeking behaviour, and defined it by a set of criteria that produced excellent inter-rater reliability.

The Difference Between Addiction and Dependence in a Nutshell

He cites declines in rates of drinking and driving and of adult tobacco use as examples of the success due to changes in social norms. A history of sexual abuse seems to be a factor in whether women abuse alcohol, the report noted. It also pointed out that addiction vs dependence among adolescents the gender gap is closing; girls and boys both start smoking at age 13 and begin drinking at 15. Society cannot expect political leaders alone to bear responsibility for warning adolescents about the risks of substance abuse, however.

addiction vs dependence

This is why the offspring of addicts are prone to becoming addicts. One study showed that a child of a parent with a drug or alcohol addiction is eight times more likely to develop an addiction as well. Speak with your doctor if you have become physically dependent on a medication or other substance. Physical dependence on a drug is also different from addiction. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics says more than 20 million people over the age of 12 in the United States have substance use disorder.

Drug Tolerance Definition

Because of this confusion, some organizations prefer substance use disorder (SUD). When the symptoms of mental and physical dependence are apparent, an addiction is usually present. However, the main characteristic that distinguishes addiction from dependence is the combination of mental and physical dependence with uncontrollable behavior in obtaining and using a substance.

Rather, the manual defines substance abuse disorders as mild, moderate, or severe. When symptoms of both physical and mental dependence are obvious, it usually indicates that addiction is present. However, the primary characteristic that determines it’s an addiction and not dependence is the combination of both physical and mental dependence.


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