Drug and Alcohol Dependence | Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor

Drug and Alcohol Dependence

woman leaning on table drinking wondering about drug and alcohol dependence

When it comes to drug and alcohol dependence and drug and alcohol addiction, the difference between the two might be challenging to understand. Some treatment centers focus on only dependence. Others only use addiction. Still more focus only on the term substance use disorder, or use these three terms interchangeably. The lack of consistency can make the subject confusing. At AspenRidge Recovery Centers, we know the difference between these three terms. Do you think you suffer from dependence, addiction, or substance use disorder? If so, contact a certified drug and alcohol counselor at AspenRidge Recovery Centers by calling (855) 281-5588 today.

What is Drug and Alcohol Dependence?

If a certified drug and alcohol counselor uses the phrase “drug and alcohol dependence,” he or she usually means that a person has a physical dependence on the substance. If you are dependent on a drug or alcohol, you have tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. A person who has a drug or alcohol dependence doesn’t always have an addiction. However, addiction usually follows a physical dependency.

What is Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

What does a certified drug and alcohol counselor mean by the term addiction? In most cases, they’re noting a change in behavior that substance abuse causes by changing the biochemical structure of a person’s brain. Using the substance has become the person’s priority, regardless of the consequences for them or the people around them. Addiction may cause the person to act irrationally if they don’t access to the substance.

What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder is the technical name for addiction, according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM. This manual is the book that a certified drug and alcohol counselor will use to diagnose a person with addiction. According to the DSM, there are 11 criteria that experts use to diagnose and treat substance use disorder. They are:

  • Developing withdrawal symptoms, signaling that you’ve developed a drug and alcohol dependence
  • Needing more drugs or alcohol to get the same effect
  • Continuing to use drugs or alcohol though it has physical or psychological consequences
  • Repeatedly using the substance even though it endangers you
  • Giving up social, occupational, or recreational activities to use drugs or alcohol
  • Continuing to use drugs or alcohol though it causes relationship problems
  • Not completing responsibilities at home, work, or school because of drug or alcohol use
  • Getting cravings or urges to use drugs or alcohol
  • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from drug or alcohol use
  • Wanting to cut down or stop using drugs and alcohol, but being unable to do so
  • Taking more of the drug or alcohol than you initially intended, or using it for longer than you intended

Get Treatment at AspenRidge Recovery

Even if you only have a drug and alcohol dependence, it’s essential to get treatment early. Treating drug or alcohol abuse or misuse early on can prevent severe physical, mental, and social consequences that come with addiction. A certified drug and alcohol counselor can tell you how severe your addiction or dependency might be, so it’s critical to call as soon as you know there’s a problem.

Have you’ve learned the difference between drug and alcohol dependence and addiction? If you have realized that you’ve become dependent on drugs or alcohol or you feel as if addiction has taken control of your life, contact AspenRidge Recovery. You can reach us at (855) 281-5588. With our treatment programs in Fort Collins, Lakewood (Denver Metro), and Lone Tree Colorado, you can start fresh and move forward with confidence.

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