Are Addiction and Substance Abuse the Same? - Alcohol Drug Addiction Treatment Centers

Please complete the form below. Required fields are marked with an asterisk.

Are Addiction and Substance Abuse the Same?

There is a common misconception that addiction and substance abuse are the same. However, in spite of the fact that both terms refer to an unhealthy relationship with drugs or alcohol, there are crucial differences between substance abuse and addiction.

The following information will help you recognize the major substance abuse symptoms, how to tell them apart from addiction symptoms and what types of substance abuse programs can maximize the chances of long-term recovery for your loved one.

Substance abuse vs. addiction

Both substance abuse and addiction may involve drinking alcohol, using street drugs (like heroin or cocaine) or taking prescription drugs (such as strong painkillers). However, substance abuse precedes addiction, and the key warning signs differ.

If you notice one or more of the following destructive behaviors during a one-year period, it is likely that your loved one has a problem with substance abuse:

. Refusing to stop using the substance even though it is clearly causing problems in relationships;
. Performing more poorly at work, school or college directly because of drugs or alcohol;
. Getting into trouble with the law as a result of drugs or alcohol use;
. Suffering from financial problems due to spending on substance abuse;
. Willingly engaging in behaviors that put themselves or others at risk, such as driving under the influence.

Drug addiction is more severe than substance abuse and may be suspected if you have noticed at least one of the following physical and mental changes:
. Increasing drugs or alcohol intake to compensate for building tolerance levels;

. Going through withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability and lethargy) when ceasing use of drugs or alcohol;
. Repeatedly failing to stop using their substance(s) of choice;
. Risk of overdose due to amount of drugs or alcohol ingested.

The relationship between substance abuse and addiction

As well as noting the differences in severity, it’s important to see that a loved one who displays signs of substance abuse could well be on the path to drug or alcohol addiction (while, on the other hand, addiction does not revert back to substance abuse). You should also be mindful of the fact that people with underlying mental health issues (such as anxiety, depression or schizophrenia) may be more likely to move from substance abuse to addiction at a faster rate. However, with the help of a substance abuse treatment facility such as The Discovery House, drug abuse may not progress to a full-blown addiction.

Treating substance abuse

Unlike addiction treatment, substance abuse recovery does not typically require an inpatient medical detox, as there is not the same level of bodily dependence. However, substance abuse rehab in Southern California’s The Discovery House does involve a customized program of therapy that may draw on a wide range of counseling modalities. For example, individual drug or alcohol therapy may focus on helping the person understand why they have been abusing this particular substance and on developing alternative coping mechanisms to deal with stress or difficult emotions. Meanwhile, substance abuse group therapy provides a unique chance to share perspectives with others and build a meaningful support network during treatment.

The Discovery House, located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, utilizes a variety of treatment programs that allow each client to receive the individualized care they deserve. The pet friendly Southern California rehab center offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs to help drug addicts and alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. Each client at The Discovery House receives customized care to end their dependence on prescription drugs, heroin and other opiates and/or alcohol in order to live a sober life. To learn more about The Discovery House, visit or call (855) 203-7930.

What type of treatment do you feel is crucial to long-term recovery from drug or alcohol abuse or addiction? Do you or a loved one have experience with identifying a loved one’s substance abuse or addiction? Please share with us on Facebook or Twitter @TDHRehab.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial