Drug & Alcohol Detox in Palm Beach

All Calls Are Confidential

Palm Beach
a woman outside looking at the sunset with hills scenery

Addiction Vs Dependence: Whats The Difference?

May 06, 2024

Is it addiction or dependence? You may discover these terms used synonymously, but they are quite different when you're referring to substance use. If you find yourself or someone you care about struggling to quit alcohol or drugs, it can be beneficial to understand the differentiation between dependence vs addiction. This awareness can assist you in finding the right treatment when you’re ready to obtain help.

What Is Substance Dependence?

Substance dependence refers to the physical symptoms you encounter when your body becomes reliant on a mind-altering substance. Alcohol and drugs include potent chemicals. When you use them frequently, your body grows used to those chemicals and changes its chemistry in return. It will eventually depend on that substance to function normally.

If you have a dependence, you could build a tolerance, meaning you need greater doses of a substance to get the effect you felt before. You’ll also note negative effects when you stop using a substance you are dependent on. Your system responds to the absence of the chemicals, and you are faced with physical unease. These symptoms are known as withdrawal and could include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Sleeplessness
  • Headaches
  • Aches and pains
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Mood shifts
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

The intensity of withdrawal is contingent on the substance you have a dependence on, how much you were using it, and for how long you’ve experienced dependency. For instance, forgoing your morning coffee may lead to an irritating headache if you have a dependency on caffeine. However, being dependent on narcotics could result in more troubling withdrawal symptoms like fever and vomiting.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction may look quite similar to dependence; however, addiction is psychological dependence and not physical. Whenever you experience addiction, you feel forcefully compelled to consume a substance. Addictive alcohol and drugs can rewire the neural circuitry in your brain, so you only feel good when you have those substances in your system. Your brain hungers for those chemicals. This leads to compulsive substance use. You aren’t able to focus on anything unless you’ve acquired your “fix.” You can’t curb the compulsion to use whatever you’re addicted to.

The biggest difference between dependence vs addiction is that when there’s a dependency, you may not feel the desire to consume a substance, but your body becomes ill when you don’t. In regards to addiction, your mind informs you that you must have the substance even when you don’t feel physically unwell when abstaining from it. Dependence may bring on addiction, so it’s possible to have both the psychological and physical need for a substance.

How Will Treatment Differ For Addiction Vs Dependence?

It’s important to understand that both addiction and dependence can damage your life. Both can result in life-changing medical problems and hazardous behaviors. And both dependence and addiction must be addressed to conquer substance use.

If you discover that your brain or body won’t permit you to stop using either drugs or alcohol, you need specialized medical help to detox and maintain sobriety. However, not every detox center treats both dependence and addiction. Quite a few will treat the physical symptoms of dependence and withdrawal without looking at the mental aspects of addiction.

If you require addiction care, look for a treatment facility like Sunrise Detox Palm Beach that provides both medical and psychological treatment. Our clinicians and staff will help you feel at ease and safe while your body clears itself of drugs or alcohol. With the symptoms of either addiction or dependence minimized, it’s easier to stave off relapse and maintain sobriety for the next steps in recovery.

Get Treatment For Addiction And Dependence At Sunrise Detox Palm Beach

If you have a dependency, addiction, or both, Sunrise Detox Palm Beach can help. Call us at 561-621-2517 or complete the following form, and we will answer right away. We’ll set up a personal consultation about the kind of substance use support you need and our admission procedure. Phone us anytime, and we’ll respond, no matter what. We’re here to advise you now.