Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction

psychpost | 7/07/2012 01:53:00 PM
Are abuse and addiction the same thing?  Photo source. 

The terms Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction may seem to be two different ways to talk about the same thing but they are actually quite different.

Drug Abuse - the use of a drug "in a matter that deviates from the approved medical or social patterns in a given culture" (Jaffe).

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  (DSM-IV) Drug Abuse is defined as:
1. Recurring substance use that interferes with major role obligations.
2. Recurrent use in situations where dangerous.
3. Recurrent legal problems related to use.
4. Continued use despite social or interpersonal problems caused by use.

An important point to note with drug abuse is that the same use of drugs will be considered abuse in one situation but not another. For example: Having 3 alcoholic drinks at a part on Friday or Saturday night is generally not considered Drug Abuse, whereas having 3 alcoholic drinks right before work or class is considered to be Drug Abuse. But using heroin in any situation is typically considered to be Drug Abuse.

The term Drug Addiction is very hard to define because there are so many theories trying to explain how it happens. Presently, Drug Addiction is characterized by:
1. Compulsive use: Overwhelming involvement with use of drug.
2. Compulsive Drug Seeking: The Securing of its supply.
3. High Tendency to Relapse after Withdrawal (Jaffe).

As we see from these two different definitions, Drug Abuse is primarily characterized by the situation in which drugs are used and Drug Addiction is characterized by the frequency of occurrences.

3 responses to "Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction"

  1. Reading this has hit me pretty hard man, I was just thinking about drug abuse there and it really is a horrible thing to be involved in, I can relate to all three of these addiction definitions and it's scary.

  2. Thank for this information

  3. This is a useful resource for learning more about drug abuse and addiction .

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