Are you Addicted or Drug Dependent? – What is the difference?
Whilst “Addiction,” may include physical dependence, it is identified by an uncontrollable desire for drug use despite the knowledge of existing devastating effect.
Dependence can be identified by the need to take higher doses of a medication in order to get the same effect. Dependence, often comes with tolerance and when tolerance occurs, your physician may even find it difficult to determine whether you have a real medical need for higher doses to control their symptoms or the patient is developing a drug problem.
Physical dependence occurs because of normal adaptations to chronic exposure to a drug and is not the same as addiction. When abused or used several times daily and for several weeks or longer, opioids can lead to physical dependence and, in some cases, addiction. In either case, withdrawal symptoms may occur if drug use is suddenly reduced or stopped.
Restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”), and involuntary leg movements are possible symptoms
Note that symptoms can be avoided via the use of a slow drug taper or can be managed medically, however, care providers need to be vigilant and attentive to patients’ symptoms and level of functioning for appropriate treatment.