addiction vs disorder

Addiction Vs Disorder

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Thirty-six-year-old Jonathan parties with friends a lot. He is out more nights of the week than he is in, usually comes home drunk, and is hungover the next day. He lost his job at a warehouse and doesn’t help his wife with their young kids anymore. His family notices he is irritable and anxious when he is not drinking. His wife has threatened to leave him if he doesn’t change.

Twenty-five-year-old Lilly works as an accountant during the week. On the weekends, she mostly hangs out in her room, drinking. Her roommates ask her to hang out, but she always says she has something else to do or doesn’t feel up to it.

The Differences

Jonathan and Lilly are representative of two types of issues with alcohol. Jonathan has an addiction to alcohol. The fact that he’s lost his job, doesn’t help take care of his kids, and may lose his marriage means that his life has become unmanageable due to alcohol. He is choosing alcohol over work and family and losing control of his life as a result.

Lilly has a substance abuse disorder, and her drug of choice is alcohol. She is still able to function well at her job and at home, although she is isolating. The only negative consequence she has experienced thus far is that her relationships with her roommates are starting to deteriorate.

With the examples of Lilly and Jonathan, one can see the difference between an addiction and substance abuse disorder. People with an addiction can no longer function normally. Even though alcohol is causing negative consequences for them, they cannot break their drug abuse habit. Addiction is considered an actual disease, as the addict is physically and psychologically dependent on their drug of choice. An addict will not stop abusing their chemical of choice on their own. Inpatient rehab facilities are the ideal addiction treatment response.

People with substance abuse disorder still have control over their lives and their drug use. Their drug of choice is often only causing a negative consequence in one area of their life, not across the board. People with substance abuse disorder have not yet become dependent on their drug of choice. They can still choose to alter their behavior and can benefit from inpatient or outpatient therapy.

Addiction Stereotypes

Many people with substance abuse disorder or an addiction avoid getting help due to the stigma of having a problem with drugs or alcohol. Stigma is associated with negative stereotypes, judgment, and discriminating treatment. Many with substance abuse disorder feel like they do not fit the stereotype of a drunk or druggie. They think that society will judge them and treat them differently if they reveal their problem and ask for help. Stigmatization around substance abuse partly explains why only 19.8% of people with a lifetime substance abuse disorder get treatment.

According to surveying by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2017, approximately 19.7 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder. Many people with substance abuse disorder also have a mental illness; this is called a dual diagnosis. In this case, both disorders exacerbate one another. Dual diagnosis treatment involves an approach that treats the mental illness and the substance abuse disorder simultaneously.

Addiction Treatment in Fresno, CA

If you believe you or someone you know has a substance abuse disorder, now is the time to get help before it becomes a full-blown addiction. Our Fresno, California-based treatment centers are fully licensed and are JCAHO certified. Our highly trained staff, team members, and psychological and medical support personnel deliver the best treatment available. Our treatment use methods that have researched, scientific results and create positive outcomes. We address not only the abuse of substances but the underlying emotional issues and possible mental health complications as well. Call us today at 844-489-0836 for a free consultation. We’re here to help.

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