In other words, the body feels like it needs meth to physically function. Dependence can lead to strong cravings and compulsive use in the absence of meth in order to avoid unwanted withdrawal symptoms. Addiction and dependence are words both used to describe an unhealthy and problematic pattern of drug or alcohol use. In the past, drug or alcohol dependence was diagnosed as the most severe form of addiction, but this classification was done away with in 2013. Today, addiction and dependence are used interchangeably, and both refer to an unhealthy and problematic pattern of substance use.

addiction vs dependence

Frequently, payers, health care providers, and even epidemiologists utilize claims data based on diagnosis code data to guide policy and treatment. However, a recent study [1] raises significant concerns about the accuracy of these diagnostic data. The problem, we argue, is caused by confusingly-worded International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 and ICD-10 codes, which reflect a general misunderstanding of the difference between addiction and physiologic dependence.

Can I Get Addicted to My Pain Medication?

The line between the two can sometimes be blurred, though, especially when discussing potentially habit-forming prescriptions like opioids. When addiction is related to drugs or alcohol, the condition is also called a substance use disorder. It could include prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, street drugs, alcohol, even nicotine. Physiological dependence is very common and can occur with many different kinds of substances, including those considered to be medications. In fact, it’s very important for medical professionals to get this right and differentiate between physiological dependence and the more complicated addiction construct because the diagnosis will help point to the best treatment option. Meth dependence is a physiological adaptation of the body, wherein the body becomes so used to meth being present in the system that when the individual cuts back on their use or quits, withdrawal symptoms emerge.

A person who is addicted typically struggles to meet work, social, and/or family obligations. Generally, this person will also have built a tolerance to their drug of choice, and experience painful withdrawal symptoms (mental or physical) upon stopping use of it. Diagnosis of substance use disorder usually occurs after discussing your medical history and symptoms with your primary care provider, a psychiatrist, or a qualified mental health professional. You will likely be asked a series of questions about your usage and any effects it has had on your relationships and responsibilities. In 2013, the American Psychological Association (APA) released the fifth edition of the DSM. In this edition, the definitions revolving around addiction were changed once again.

Mental Dependence Vs. Physical Dependence

If you were addicted to the substance, just cutting down wouldn’t ordinarily work. At the same time, the distinction between addiction and dependence is not trivial. Medical professionals are ethically required to get the diagnosis right so that they can get the treatment right.

Reach out to our staff at The Recovery Village to learn more about how we treat substance issues, chemical dependency, and behavioral addiction. For instance, someone who is on a prescription for pain medication may find that he needs increasing amounts of dosage for the medication to work. Some doctors may diagnose this as an increasing tolerance, or it might be disguised as addiction vs dependence the possible start of an addiction issue. Let’s examine how the world views addiction versus dependence in relation to substance abuse disorders. Prescribing healthcare providers also need to educate patients about the potential risks so that they will follow their provider’s instructions, safeguard their medications, and dispose of them appropriately, according to NIDA.

Definition of Dependence

Connect with thousands of patients and caregivers for support and answers. Connect with thousands of patients and caregivers for support, practical information, and answers. 2 or 3 years ago I tapered off it to see if it was having an effect on my neuropathy pain. 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.

Join the thousands of people that have called a treatment provider for rehab information. For example, we have long been told that people need to hit “rock bottom” before they’ll get help, but this isn’t true. Anyone with an addiction can get help at any point if they feel it’s the right time.

Drug dependence refers to the physical changes that occur in the body as a result of chronic drug use. When a person becomes dependent on a drug, their body has adapted to the presence of the drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly stopped. Dependence can occur with the regular use of any drug, including prescription medications and illicit drugs. Dependence is defined as a psychological and physical reliance on a substance and losing control of substance abuse.

She is no stranger to social and cultural stigma, internalized ableism, career breaks, relationship issues, parenting with migraine, and grief. After a long career break, Shruti decided to start-over by marrying her passion for telling authentic and empathy-driven stories with her love for helping people in this community feel less alone. Mental (or psychological) dependence is the perceived need or craving for a substance based on emotional or psychological desires rather than a physical need. Individuals might believe they need the drug to relax, escape, or feel “normal.” It’s more about the emotional and mental attachment to the substance. Edmund has an extensive background in addiction research and medical writing, working collaboratively with doctors, substance use disorder specialists, and clinical experts across all content on Recovered. If so, it’s important for you to treat it with the seriousness it requires and get help before it’s too late.

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