Substance Use Disorder vs Addiction: What Are the Differences?


Do you suffer from substance use disorder? If so, you’re not alone.

You see, millions of people in the US suffer from substance abuse. This often leads to addiction, which can make life intolerable.

Evidence supports that misuse is the initial stage of substance use disorders. As the need to seek more medication increases, so do the risks of developing an addiction.

Knowing the differences between substance use disorder vs addiction can help you diagnose and treat your condition. Keep reading to learn more.

The Difference in Definition

Substance use disorder is a term used to describe a pattern of substance use that leads to significant impairment or distress. Addiction is a term that describes a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use.

Although both terms are often used interchangeably, some important differences exist between substance use disorder and addiction. Addiction is a term often used to describe a highly dependent substance use disorder that requires professional help.

How They’re Diagnosed

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has different criteria for diagnosing these two disorders.

Substance addiction is diagnosed when someone has an intense craving for the substance, loses control over its use, and continues to use despite negative consequences.

A substance abuse disorder is diagnosed when someone has a pattern of using a substance that leads to problems in their life. But they don’t have a dependence on it.

Substance use disorder is a medical diagnosis that can be made by a qualified mental health professional. Addiction, on the other hand, is not a medical diagnosis.

Treatment  Approach

The most effective approach depends on the individual and the severity of their addiction. Substance use disorder and addiction are not the same things. Addiction is a more serious condition that requires specialized treatment.

Additionally, substance use disorder can be treated with various methods, including therapy, support groups, and medication.

Addiction treatment is a complex and layered process, but what’s worse is the stigma surrounding it. Finding out more info will help us understand the stigmas that are often associated with addiction.

Differences in Recovery

Recovery from addiction is possible, but it’s not always easy. In fact, relapse is common among those in recovery.

Because addiction is a chronic disease, it’s essential to be mindful of the risk of relapse and plan to avoid it. For some, this may mean avoiding high-risk situations, such as parties where drugs or alcohol will be present.

Recovery from addiction is often a long and challenging process. With substance use disorder, recovery is also possible, but it may not be as difficult.

Distinctions of Substance Use Disorder vs Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it is vital to understand the difference between a substance use disorder vs addiction. Addiction and substance use disorders are both grave problems that require attention.

There are many resources available to help you overcome these challenges. Recovery should be your top priority.

Check out our blog for more helpful insights!



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