What are substance abuse and chemical dependency

substance abuse and chemical dependency

If you are on this site, you are likely wondering, “what is chemical dependency in terms of the substances I am using?” Chemical dependency is often used as a term interchangeably with substance abuse. Let’s see what chemical dependency and substance abuse exactly are and how they are similar or different.

Substance Abuse

Substances can refer to drugs and/or alcohol. Substance abuse is the medical terminology used to describe the pattern of substance use that causes significant distress and/or problems in your life. Here are some examples of the problems associated with substance abuse:

  • Using in dangerous situations (i.e., driving a car while high or drunk)
  • Failing to attend work or school
  • Legal problems related to using
  • Using that interferes with personal relationships with family and friends

Substance abuse is a recognized medical brain disorder that refers to the abuse of legal or illegal substances. For instance, alcohol and cigarettes are legal but can still be abused. Illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines are illegal and can also be abused.

When answering the question about chemical dependency, you have to answer honestly to see if you are facing any of the above issues.

Drug Dependency

Physical dependence on drugs and/or alcohol is also a part of chemical dependency and often needs a managed detoxification program for the successful removal of the substances from your body.

Points to determine if you are dependent on drugs or alcohol:

  • Do you spend a lot of time trying to find drugs to use?
  • Do you use drugs other than your drug of choice because you have no other options?
  • Do you take a lot of time to recover from the use of your drugs/alcohol?
  • Have you withdrawn from social and recreational activities?
  • Is your tolerance increased to the point that you need more and more to feel the same effects?
  • Do you continue to use in spite of the negative effects you are experiencing, both physical and emotional?
  • Do you have withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop or cut back?

Coming to terms with your drug addiction is no easy task. Luckily, there is help. Detoxification programs can help with the unsafe and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and inpatient drug treatment gives you tools for recovery and your life that are indispensable. You can be free of your drug addiction and learn new ways to live that are fulfilling, fun, and joyous. An intake specialist is waiting to speak to you today. Tell them your story, and you can find out what your treatment options are.

Because of new developments in technology, there is a much higher success rate in treating substance abuse and chemical dependency than ever before, but there is always room for improvement. Pairing behavioral and pharmacological efforts together is working great right now. Treating addictions must encompass education that specializes in living without drugs, how to handle drug cravings, how to avoid situations that glorify substance abuse and chemical dependency, and what to do in the event of a relapse. Drug rehab centers have complete programs available to help you win the battle in treating all sorts of addictions with the most updated technologies that will help you get clean and stay clean forever.


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