While many people use the terms drug abuse and addiction interchangeably, abuse and addiction have separate and distinct meanings. One can abuse drugs without necessarily being addicted to drugs. The drug abuse definition focuses more around the way a person uses drugs, while the drug addiction definition includes the use of drugs and also the psychological and physiological effects the drug has on the body.
It’s important to understand that drug abuse is an extreme desire to obtain, and use, increasing amounts of one or more substances. Drug abuse is a generic term for the abuse of any drug, including alcohol and cigarettes. Drug addiction is the inability to stop using the drug in spite of numerous attempts definitions so as to correctly identify problem. It’s also important to remember that alcohol is also a drug and is included in the definitions of drug abuse and addiction.
It is important to understand that even though these two definitions are different, they are both harmful. If you or someone you know has a problem with drug abuse and addiction, you can read more about our substance abuse and ambulatory detox programs.