There is a subtle but important difference between drug abuse and drug addiction. Someone can abuse drugs without being addicted but the opposite is not true. It is not possible to be addicted to drugs without abusing them.

Some experts concerned with this subtle difference have outlined different stages in the addiction process.Stage one is the exploratory phase, stage two is the recreational stage, stage three is the abusive stage and stage four is the dependent stage that we normally associate with the word addiction.

Drug addiction implies a loss of choice. The need for the drug is paramount. Drug abuse implies the implementation of a choice to abuse a substance. This choice is born out of a desire to use the substance to help ease circumstances or situation. In this way it is one step further on the road to addiction because it is no longer being used for purely recreational reasons

It is important to pay attention to drug abuse because it has within it the seeds of the compulsivity that leads to dependency and addiction. This is true in most cases though not in all. There are people who can abuse drugs but are impervious to becoming dependent.

Drug addiction means that the drug abuse has become a compulsive need for which there is only one solution. At this point the person feels that there is no choice and that the urge is beyond their control.

There are two kinds of addictions: physical and psychological. Often they occur simultaneously because the body is not naturally divided at mind and body. Someone who is addicted on both a psychological and a physical level will need professional help with both the physical and the psychological symptoms. Often the psychological addiction will prove the most stubborn and profound.

Source: wikipedia

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