Many people use “addiction” and “abuse” interchangeably, however, they both mean something quite different. Someone can abuse opioids or other drugs and alcohol but not be addicted. Still confused? Let’s look at it a little closer.
Abuse is Not Addiction
Abusing opioids or other drugs and alcohol means that you’re not using it in the manner it should be used. A doctor can prescribe a medication such as oxycodone to be taken or a woman can have a glass of wine at dinner. Both of these examples are not abuse because the drug or alcohol consumption is taken in a way that is appropriate.
The definition of abuse is “misuse; to use something for a bad purpose”. Abusing opioids or alcohol would be to misuse them, to drink an excessive amount of wine or to take several pills of oxycodone or Percocet at one time. Both examples are those of abusing a substance. Just because you abuse that substance, it does not mean that you are addicted to it.
Being addicted means to be “physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance and unable to take without incurring adverse effects”. Substance abuse can lead to addiction, which is important to understand before abusing a substance turns into an addiction. Opioid addiction and specifically pain pill addiction such as oxycodone addiction, Percocet addiction, codeine addiction, or any other type of opioid is a serious problem where a person becomes physically and mentally dependent on the substance.
It’s not always easy for a person to recognize when abuse has crossed over into addiction. When problems begin to arise because of their behavior, it’s easy for denial to set in and for them to blame others or circumstances (divorce, job loss). Through education and prevention, addiction can be stopped.
We’re here to help with opioid addiction…
Whether treatment is for you, a family member or a friend, we are happy to speak with you about our outpatient drug treatment program, and how AOC can help patients with their opioid addiction recovery. Since 2007, AOC has helped thousands of patients on their path to recovery.