Drug & Alcohol Detox in Long Island

All Calls Are Confidential

Long Island
a woman outside looking at the sunset with hills scenery

Addiction Vs Dependence: Whats The Difference?

May 06, 2024

Addiction or dependence? You might see these terms used synonymously, but they have different meanings when you're referring to substance use. If you find yourself or someone you care about struggling to quit using drugs or alcohol, it can be valuable to know the differentiation between dependence vs addiction. This awareness can aid you in finding the proper treatment when you’re ready to obtain help.

What Is A Substance Dependence?

Substance dependence is a reference to the physiological symptoms you encounter when your bodily system gets used to a brain-altering substance. Drugs and alcohol contain potent chemicals. When you take them regularly, your body’s system becomes accustomed to the chemicals and adjusts its chemistry in response. It will then rely on that substance to function as usual.

When you have a dependence, you might develop a tolerance, which means you need larger quantities of a substance to get the desired results. You’ll also note negative effects when you no longer use a substance you’ve become dependent upon. Your system has a response to the absence of those chemicals, and you endure physical discomfort. These symptoms are referred to as withdrawal and might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Aches and pains
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

The severity of withdrawal is contingent on the substance you are dependent on, how much you were using it, and for how long you’ve experienced dependency. To illustrate, skipping your daily coffee might lead to an irksome headache if you are dependent on caffeine. On the other hand, being dependent on narcotics might cause more worrisome withdrawal symptoms like muscle pain and vomiting.

What Is An Addiction?

Addiction may look very similar to dependence; although, addiction is psychological dependency rather than physiological. When you experience addiction, you feel strongly compelled to take a substance. Addictive drugs and alcohol can change your brain’s neural pathways, so you only feel enjoyment when you have those substances in your system. Your brain wants those chemicals. This creates compulsive substance use. You can’t focus on anything unless you’ve acquired your “fix.” You can’t curb the urge to take whatever you’re addicted to.

The biggest difference between dependence vs addiction is that when you’re dependent, you may not experience the compulsion to take a substance, but your body gets ill when you don’t. In addiction, your head lets you know that you have to take the substance even when you don’t become physically unwell when not using it. Dependence might result in addiction, so it’s possible to have both the mental and physical need for a drug.

How Is Treatment Different For Addiction Vs Dependence?

It’s critical to note that both dependence and addiction can devestate your life. Both can result in life-threatening medical issues and risky behaviors. And both addiction and dependence must be treated to prevail over substance use.

If you find that your body or brain won’t let you quit using either drugs or alcohol, you need licensed medical assistance to detox and remain sober. But, not all detox facilities treat both dependence and addiction. Quite a few will attend to the physiological symptoms of dependence and withdrawal without managing the mental elements of addiction.

If you need addiction services, look for a treatment center like Sunrise Detox Long Island that offers both physical and psychological treatment. Our clinicians and staff will help you feel safe and comfortable while your body clears itself of alcohol or drugs. With the symptoms of either addiction or dependence under control, it’s easier to stave off relapse and maintain sobriety for the next steps in your recovery journey.

Find Treatment For Addiction And Dependence At Sunrise Detox Long Island

Whether you have a dependency, addiction, or both, Sunrise Detox Long Island can help. Reach out to 631-857-3800 or send in the form below, and we will reply immediately. We’ll have a confidential discussion about the kind of substance use care you need and our admission process. Make the call at any hour, and we’ll respond, without exception. We’re standing by to advise you now.