Drug abuse and drug addiction are related but different terms that describe a person’s relationship with drugs.
Drug abuse refers to the intentional use of drugs in a way that is harmful to the user or to others. This can include using drugs in a way that is not consistent with the intended use or using them in excessive amounts. Drug abuse can have a wide range of negative consequences, both for the individual using the drugs and for the people around them. Here are some common consequences of drug abuse:
Physical Health Problems: Drug abuse can lead to a variety of physical health problems, including heart disease, liver disease, respiratory problems, and neurological damage. Injection drug use can also lead to infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis.
Mental Health Problems: Drug abuse can cause or exacerbate mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis.
Impaired Judgment: Drug abuse can impair judgment and decision-making, leading to risky behaviors such as driving under the influence or engaging in unsafe sex.
Legal Problems: Drug abuse can lead to a variety of legal problems, including arrests, fines, and imprisonment. Possessing or distributing illegal drugs can result in severe legal consequences.
Strained Relationships: Drug abuse can strain relationships with family, friends, and coworkers, leading to social isolation and a lack of support.
Financial Problems: Drug abuse can be expensive, leading to financial problems such as debt, job loss, and homelessness.
Overdose and Death: Drug abuse can lead to overdose and death, particularly when drugs are taken in excessive amounts or in combination with other substances.
Drug addiction, on the other hand, refers to a chronic and compulsive pattern of drug use that results in significant impairment or distress. Addiction is characterized by a strong desire to use drugs, difficulty controlling drug use and continued use despite negative consequences. People with drug addiction often experience intense cravings for drugs, which can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, social situations, and exposure to drug-related cues. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped, which can be uncomfortable or even dangerous, such as muscle aches, restlessness, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, chills, and insomnia, depending on the degree of severity. Addiction is considered a complex brain disorder, and it often requires professional help to overcome.
In summary, drug abuse refers to the harmful use of drugs, while drug addiction refers to a chronic and compulsive pattern of drug use that results in significant impairment or distress. Drug abuse can lead to drug addiction, but not everyone who abuses drugs will become addicted.