“Substance abuse” and “addiction” are closely-related terms, but there are key distinctions between them. Learn how to recognize the differences between the two.
In everyday conversation, the distinction between substance abuse and drug addiction can sometimes be ambiguous. However, while both substance abuse and addiction can have detrimental effects on your life, not everyone who abuses substances will go on to develop an addiction. Recognizing early warning signs of substance abuse can alert you to the need for treatment before a full-blown addiction occurs.
Substance abuse is not the same thing as addiction, though it is still a cause for concern. Both overusing a substance and using a substance in a manner other than its intended use are signs of substance abuse. For example, if you are prescribed a painkiller but you take it more often, or in higher doses, than your prescription dictates, this is a sign of substance abuse.