The line between substance abuse and drug dependence is defined by the role drugs play in your life. Addiction and drug dependence occur when drugs become so important that you are willing to sacrifice your work, home and even family. Once your brain and body get used to the substances you are taking, you begin to require increasingly larger and more frequent doses in order to achieve the same effect.
Drugs such as alcohol, opiates, and benzodiazepines often cause compulsive drug-seeking behaviors and affect self-control and judgment. These drugs are highly addictive and require a medical detoxification (detox) to cleanse the chemicals from your system. The severity of withdrawal symptoms such as chills, shakes, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and cravings can be reduced in detox with prescribed medications that can be slowly decreased over time. Withdrawal affects you physically and emotionally resulting in sadness, depression and exhaustion. Below are classic symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse and dependency.
Sobriety – Sobriety can be described as living a full, rewarding and meaningful life without the need for drugs and/or alcohol and without their use. There is movement from a life of dependence, destruction and being unfulfilled to one of emotional, physical and spiritual health. Sobriety can be described as a way of life that involves healthy relationships, communication, and personal growth.
Abstinence – Becoming abstinent, stopping the use of all mood altering drugs, is the necessary first task that must be accomplished in working toward a life in recovery. However, it is not by itself sobriety. It is like paying the admission fee at the amusement park, not the attractions themselves. Abstinence is an all or nothing proposition, either you have quit absolutely, or not. To enter into sobriety requires total abstinence; the first building block of sobriety.
Drug or Alcohol ABUSE: How can I tell if I have a problem?
Health and behavior
Financial and legal issues
Employment or school
Family and friends
Signs and symptoms of Cannabis use (Marijuana and Hashish)
Drug or Alcohol DEPENDENCE: How do I know if I have become dependent?
Cravings and relapse
Effects on memory and motivation