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Addiction and Abuse are Not the Same

January 25, 2018

Somewhere along the way, the words addiction and abuse became synonymous with each other. However, they are not the same.

At CADS, we want to change the conversation about addiction and abuse, but first, we want you to know the differences between them. It may help you understand your loved one.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”

What does that mean? If an individual is addicted to alcohol, then drinking alcohol is more important than any other aspect of normal life, like eating, sleeping, or spending time with friends and family.

The American Psychiatric Association explains substance abuse disorder as a pattern of use of an intoxicating substance that leads to clinically significant impairment or distress.

This might mean an individual uses mind-altering substances to cope with stressful situations in life. Certain criteria can determine if a diagnosis of substance abuse disorder is warranted. You can find them here.

While these definitions may seem similar, it’s important to note that addiction is defined as a chemical disease.

Substance abuse disorders may lead to addiction if intervention does not occur.

CADS can help you start the conversation to end addiction and abuse. The road to recovery may not be easy, but you and your loved one never have to travel it alone.

Complete our self-assessment online and then give us a call. We’re happy to talk with you.

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CADS offers a variety of substance abuse services focused on support, care, and treatment designed to meet the needs of families and individuals of all age groups in the community.
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