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Drug Addiction and Drug Dependency

Table of Contents

Drug Addiction Myths

There are several false impressions regarding drug addiction and abuse. The most widespread misunderstanding is the difference between physical dependence and chemical addiction. Oftentimes pain patients are stigmatized as addicts or drug seekers because of their use of opioids. In reality, their need for pain relievers is necessary for their day-to-day functioning.  There are physiological differences between drug addiction and drug dependency that cannot be denied. Many do not realize that there are biological and physiological differences between those who suffer from a drug dependency and those who struggle with drug addiction. Many patients with chronic pain experience this misconception from their friends, family, physicians, and even themselves.

Drug Addiction vs. Dependency

To put it in simplest terms, drug addiction affects the behavioral side of the person while dependence is the body’s adaptation to a particular drug.  Those who are prone to developing addictions are often affected by emotional, psychosocial or environmental factors that are responsible for their addictive tendencies.  Often times, the line between addiction and dependency can be blurred.  Many of those who have an addiction to a drug will still experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking their medication.  However, those suffering from addiction have compulsive behaviors that compel them to satisfy a need for a particular stimulus. Dependence is a body acclimating to receiving regular doses of a specific medication. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIH) explains the Neurobiology of Drug Addiction. Below are some signs and symptoms to be aware of:
Physical symptoms of drug dependence include a number of changes in appearance:

  • Bloodshot or glossy eyes
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Abrupt weight changes
  • Bruises, unusual infections or other physical signs at the drug entrance site on the body

Common behavioral changes related to drug addiction:

  • Increased irritability
  • Changes in personality (i.e., easy-going person becomes quick to anger)
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Financial problems
  • Lying, stealing or other criminal activity
  • Sudden changes in friends or social group
  • The inability to limit or cease drug use.
  • Theurge to continue seeking and using the drug despite negative consequences.

Understanding the Terminology

To delve deeper into the difference between addiction and dependency, it is essential to understand the terminology of each condition.  Addiction is characterized by reduced control over or compulsive drug use, a craving for the drug, or continued use of the drug despite severe physical, mental, or social consequences or harm.  A dependency is exceptionally different and is solely a physical state of the body’s adjustment to a particular drug.  When medication is stopped or reduced too quickly for those who are dependent on a drug, their body starts experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms. Both an addiction and a dependency can occur with almost any kind of drug, including opiates like Vicodin, OxyContin, Suboxone and other prescription painkillers.
Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea

There is Help for Drug Addiction and Drug Dependency

If you or a loved one are struggling with finding an appropriate path to pain relief or are suffering from an addiction to opiates, we urge you to contact your medical physician. For more information on choosing a drug detox program for yourself or a loved one, please feel free to contact our office directly. Waismann Method® is a safe and proven treatment for opiate dependency that utilizes the most advanced medical techniques available. The rapid anesthesia opiate detoxification procedure and other detoxification protocols are carried out in a full-service hospital in Southern California by board-certified anesthesiologists while patients remain under deep sedation, so they experience minimal conscious withdrawal or suffering.

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