Differences between use, abuse and addiction

Differences between use, abuse and addiction

The differences between use, abuse and addiction are varied.Even if, in everyday language, these terms are almost indistinctly used, learning their true meaning will help us identify each reality and give it the right word. To understand the importance of this theme, we must tell ourselves thatsubstance use is one of the biggest problems in society. Especially with young people.

Moreover, studies tell us thatthe pattern of consumption changes as time goes on.In the 1980s and early 1990s, the most abused drug was heroin. Currently, its consumption has decreased but new drugs have appeared, those called synthetic drugs.

Tobacco and alcohol are still the most consumed toxic substances. Cannabis and its derivatives are the most popular in the group of illegal drugs. It should also be noted that cocaine use has increased among the youth population.

Let's see the differences between use, abuse and addiction.

Substance use according to the DSM

Today, one of the most important standards for diagnosis is theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM).We will use it to establishdifferences between use, abuse and addiction.More concretely, in the DSM-IV, the distinction between abuse and addiction was based on the following concepts: abuse was considered a mild or early phase, and addiction was the most severe manifestation of a framework with characteristics Similar.

In practice, and in some cases, the diagnostic criteria referring to the abuse were quite severe. That's why inthe DSM-V use and addiction categories combine under the name of Substance Use Disorder.The criteria for this disorder would be:

  • Consumptionlarge quantities of substances or for a longer period than expected
  • Desires to abandon or regulate consumptionbut vain efforts to diminish or abandon it
  • Investing a lot of his timeto try to obtain drugs, to consume them and to recover from their effects
  • Intense desire for consumption
  • Recurring consumption can lead to non-performance of homework in academic, professional or domestic fields
  • Consumption that continues despiterecurring problems in the social or interpersonal sphere. These result from the effects of this consumption
  • Important activitiessocial, professional or leisureare reduced or abandoned because of consumption
  • Recurrent consumption can occur even in situations where it involvesphysical risk
  • The personconsumes continuously. She does it even knowing she has a problemthat can be caused or exacerbated by this consumption
  • Tolerance
  • Abstinence

This is the most current view of the consumer problem, but … What were the differences between use, abuse and addiction before?

Differences between use, abuse and addiction

Firstly,use of this type of consumption means that it is not possible to detect immediate consequences for the consumer or his entourage. It does not matter how much, how often, or the subject's own situation. This is a relatively complex term in clinical practice. It is not enough to rely on the frequencies. Sporadic consumption during which the subject clearly abuses the substance could take place.

In the same way, we can not rely exclusively on quantity. There may be consumption that is not excessive but so frequent that it suggests a form of dependency. Therefore, one must be careful when defining a consumption by the term "use".

With regard to the termabuse, it could be defined as this form of substance use which has negative consequences for the consumer or his entourage, whether in terms of quantity, frequency and / or the subject's situation.For example, a woman may be moderate in her usual consumption of alcohol and tobacco, but if she continues to eat during her pregnancy, it would be an abuse.

Finally, we can understanddependence as this norm of behavior where we prioritize the consumption of a substance in the face of other behaviors supposed to have priority.The consumption of substances thus becomes the center of the person's life. But it may have started as a sporadic experience of little importance.The person will then spend most of his time thinking about drug use, looking for them, getting money to buy them, to consume them, etc.

Ultimately,we must give importance to this type of problem. The first step is to clearly understand the meaning of each concept.This is undoubtedly one of the pillars from which we can put in place the necessary measures to intervene in each case, by helping the current society to become aware of the problem that surrounds us.

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