The distinction is essential for patients and caregivers to understand. This is why recent evidence-based literature clearly defines the difference between addiction and physical dependence in drug use. We provide our readers with factual, evidence-based content concerning the causes and nature of addiction, as well as available treatment options.

addiction vs dependence

Let’s examine how the world views addiction versus dependence in relation to substance abuse disorders. We believe everyone deserves access to accurate, unbiased information about mental health and addiction. That’s why we have a comprehensive set of treatment providers and don’t charge for inclusion. We do not and have never accepted fees for referring someone to a particular center.

Medical Disclaimer

Knowing as much as possible about addiction and dependence can also be a valuable tool in achieving recovery. It is also important to realize that while a dependence may be present without addiction, substance dependencies frequently lead to addiction. If you think you have a dependence or addiction, contact a treatment provider today for help.

After being off it for two weeks I knew that it was relieving the pain. I had been taking 30mg tid, but when I restarted it I only got up to 15mg tid. I decided to try stopping it, and I’m down to 15mg in the morning.

Psychological Aspects of Addiction

Providers who advertise with us must be verified by our Research Team and we clearly mark their status as advertisers. This conflation of addiction with dependence, which stigmatizes effective medication treatment for opioid use disorder, is even enshrined in law. This can lead to traumatic family surveillance and even separation, not surprisingly disproportionately impacting Black, Latinx, and Native American families because of racist implementation in these reporting practices. Mental dependence is when use of a substance is a conditioned response to an event or feeling. These are known as “triggers.” Something as simple as the act of driving can trigger a desire to use. These triggers set off biochemical changes in a person’s brain that strongly influence addictive behavior.

In severe cases of intoxication or overdose, a person may require emergency care. What these strategies are depends on the substance or behavior a person wants to stop. Unlike addiction, dependence does not necessarily involve difficulty controlling behavior. Although they may seem similar, addiction and dependence are distinct concepts. A person with an addiction has difficulty not using substances or doing rewarding activities, even if it is harming them. However, the desire to avoid withdrawal is what can eventually lead to addiction.

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The scientific construct of addiction has a rich and evolving history. Get professional help from an online addiction and mental health counselor from BetterHelp. The DSM is the leading source for diagnosing and understanding addiction.

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