Substance Abuse Vs. Addiction: How To Recognize The Differences Between The Two

Substance Abuse Vs. Addiction

The terms substance abuse and addiction are interchangeably used. But are both the terms the same or have different meanings? Dig in the blog to know more about when to use which term.

There is a very thin line to differentiate between substance abuse and addiction. It might fall under recreational activity if someone is occasionally using drugs. But, if the activity continues for a regular time, that might end up in addiction. There is a much crazy obsession. The worst part is that if they even think or are talked into leaving it, they might experience withdrawal symptoms, and that is the worst.

Substance Abuse

Both the terms substance abuse and addiction are two different things. Substance abuse is not the same thing as addiction, but if used in excess, it might lead to addiction. This is the reason why both the terms are interchanged when used. An example might help in a better understanding. If you are prescribed a painkiller, and you somehow manage to convince yourself that you need more and you intake it more than required, this may be termed as ‘substance abuse.’

Signs To Identify Substance Abuse

  • Are you missing your routine work, house chores or classes or school, or social events too often or almost regularly?
  • There is a constant failure to fulfill obligations.
  • Too much irritability and moodiness.
  • If someone confronts that there is the usage of drugs severely, there is complete denial.
  • Isolating self from close friends/loved ones and even family.
  • Sitting in a dark room.

Know Your Addiction

When certain substances like alcohol or prescription drugs are taken regularly, they can often interfere with the chemical changes in the brain. It might send a message to the brain to use these substances much often. Now, when a person reaches this stage, that he cannot be active or cannot function without using the particular substance, he might fall under the category of addiction. The person may or may not be aware of the negative effects of excessive use of it.

Signs To Identify Addiction

  • How much you can tolerance to the drug?
  • If there is unavailability or a stoppage in the usage, it might result in withdrawal symptoms.
  • No self-control if willing to stop.
  • All the thoughts directed towards usage of drugs, how to buy them, and the experience after it is taken.
  • An issue/ inability to do regular tasks.
  • Toxic relationships with friends, family, and even co-workers.
  • Less or more sleep schedule.
  • Change in the appetite.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • No personal hygiene.
  • Occasionally mixing drugs and alcohol.
  • If the situation worsens, one might even want to steal or borrow money constantly.
  • Mood swings.
  • Irritability.

Some people who opt for substance abuse have better control over their bodies and can control the addiction. Whereas some might not even realize and slip into the phase of addiction. It is a dangerous situation that sometimes might even lead to death if unattended.

1 example:

A woman takes up a stressful job, and to escape the negativity from work; she visits the bar daily after work. The time spent here along with alcohol helps her ease the pain at work. It relaxes her, and she tends to forget all the negative events of the day. One day while she was returning from the bar, the Gurugram police caught her. She was accused of a ‘drink & drive’ case. Since she was so heavenly involved, it led to the suspension of her license. She was bound to pay a hefty fine. This made her realize the things she was doing in her life. She re-examined every aspect and decided to stop drinking after work. Instead, she joined a gym to vent out all her anger in a positive manner.

2 Example:

A guy or a student had easy access to drugs when he joined his college. Occasional times turn into daily events; daily events turned into full-time usage. The situation deteriorated when he stopped taking his classes, stopped meeting friends, stopped picking his calls. All he did was use drugs in his room, eat, shit and sleep. There was no connection with the outer world. For months this continued, and nobody noticed his absence. Until one day, when he dialed his friend’s phone number and couldn’t utter a word. His friend traveled miles and reached to check upon him. The sad part was when he reached he was unconscious. When taken to a hospital, he was announced dead. This is the sad truth, and everybody should learn from this.

It is hard to see someone you love in such a condition. There is nothing you could do except for mental support. It is all the willingness of the person who has fallen into the category of addiction. Therefore, it is essential to keep a check on closed-ones. Especially the teens who easily fall prey to drugs due to their easy and illegal availability should be under constant surveillance.

Final Words

Either the kids or adults, when they have easy access to drugs and alcohol, slip into the pit of substance abuse and slowly addiction. To avoid this, there should be constant checks by parents and the educational institute. Also, if a close friend or sibling can help the person who is undergoing substance abuse, it might help him not to reach the addiction phase.

Preeti Shah
Preeti Shah
She is a chief editor and handles SEO. She loves health and fitness blogging. In her spare time, she is usually searching the web for interesting and fascinating health fitness ideas. She is the most inspirational person for women's empowerment and fitness.

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