Drug abuse and dependence are not the same thing. Though they share similar attributes, drug abuse and dependence are different shades of the same problem—drug abuse implies some level of control over substance abuse, while dependence suggests that substance abuse now dominates many aspects of life.
Though a diagnosis of either substance abuse disorder is a sign that drug use is having an adverse impact on your health and quality of life, dependence means that drug use has progressed to a more problematic stage. If you’ve been diagnosed with drug abuse or dependence in New York or are seeking substance abuse treatment, it may help to know the differences between these issues so you can learn how they may affect you.
You may have a problem with drug abuse if you have met any of the following criteria in a 12-month period:
- Frequent drug use has made you unable to fulfill other important responsibilities (like those at work, home or school).
- You frequently use drugs in physically dangerous situations, like driving a car.
- You face recurrent legal problems as a result of drug use.
- You continue to use drugs frequently despite the problems they continually cause in your relationships or personal life.
You may have a problem with drug dependence if you meet three of the following criteria:
- You take your drug of choice in larger amounts than intended, or continue to use for longer than intended.
- You are consistently unable to moderate drug use or stop using.
- You spend a substantial amount of your time on the drug. This includes the time you spend acquiring, using and recovering from the drug.
- You give up other important responsibilities to devote more time to using. This can include anything from recreation to occupation.
- You continue to use the drug despite the knowledge that it is harming you physically and psychologically.
- You need to continually increase the amount of the drug you take due to tolerance of the drug’s effects.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms after you reduce or stop drug use.
Drug dependence is also marked by other factors like intense cravings, lack of control and denial. In drug dependence, the drug takes priority over nearly everything else in life—it is incredibly difficult to stop using despite the knowledge of serious consequences, but the dependent person tends to talk down this severity.
Drug abuse and dependence may not be synonymous, but they both have similar solutions. If you believe you are suffering from drug abuse or dependence in New York or Princeton, substance abuse treatment can provide you with the tools you need to overcome your addiction and regain full control of your life.