Julia M Aharonov, DO  
Female, 56
Pontiac, MI

Specialties: Addiction, Drug abuse and dependence

Interests: My family
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Dependence vs. Addiction

Jun 13, 2014 - 5 comments

This is  part of a blog that I wrote a while ago for my www.mdsdruddetox.com website. Dependence and addiction, despite what people think, are not the same condition. Since the terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to understand the differences between the two.

The crucial difference between them is that dependence is a physical state, whereas addiction is a psychological state.

Dependence happens to the body. When someone takes a certain amount of a substance for a certain amount of time, the body becomes adapted to having that substance present. When the substance is taken away, the body ends up feeling a withdrawal, since it is so used to the substance being there.  
People commonly think of opiates, such as morphine, or semi-synthetic opioids derived from opiates, such as oxycodone, when they think of drug dependence or addiction. But as anyone who drinks three cups of coffee a day is bound to realize, the body can become dependent on far less damaging substances, as well. Many people using drugs to manage their pain are dependent on those drugs without being addicted to them. They take the drugs to function normally and live productive lives. These users may be dependent, but they are not addicted.

Addiction is a different beast. Whereas dependence is strictly physical, addiction reaches into psychological and social depths as well. Addiction is a condition that drives someone to satisfy their need for a substance (or behavior) at whatever the cost. Addiction is a compulsion. Addiction demands more and more, and doesn't care about the consequences. Someone who is addicted will continue using despite actual physical, mental, and social anguish to themselves or the loved ones around them. Someone who is addicted experiences constant cravings for the drug that can only be quelled by higher and higher dosages. Addiction leads to secrecy and  lies; interference with everyday life; and causes problems with loved ones. When it comes to addiction vs. dependence, addiction is truly a disease, whereas dependence is a state. Addicts are dependent on the drugs they take, but the inability to control themselves is what turns dependence into addiction.

When an individual becomes addicted to a drug, whatever the reason they began taking that drug in the first place, a point is reached where nothing matters to the addict but obtaining the drug and getting high. Addiction leads to isolation, from other people as well as emotionally and psychologically within the addict. Addiction quickly takes over an individual’s life. When considering addiction vs. dependence, simply being dependent on a drug will not cause an individual to lose their grip the way addiction does. Addiction is a forlorn and lonely state, but unfortunately one that millions of people have found themselves in.

Through rapid drug detox, however, addicted individuals can take control over their bodies again. When determining an addiction vs. dependence, the key area of difference is the state of the user’s life. Someone who is in dependent on a drug but not addicted otherwise leads a normal and fulfilling life. Those who are addicted to drugs, however, experience a continuous downward spiral and an infinite loop of seeking highs and the crushing lows that come when highs can’t be found. Yet addiction does not have to be the end of the world. Especially when rapid drug detox is used in conjunction with Naltrexone therapy, which stops the effects of opiates on the body, and the right rehabilitation psychologist, to tackle the psychological underpinnings, addiction can be overcome.

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by Mentalwar, Sep 27, 2014
I've been on methadone for 7 yrs and started tapering. I got to 48 mg and became sick and mentally distraught. I went back up and am now at 76mg not tapering at the moment because now I'm scared. I'm very interested in this rapid detox. What is the cost?

Avatar universal
by Biz_Man, Sep 29, 2014
I, too, am curious what the cost is for treating someone with a pain pill and anti-anxiety addiction?


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by EQ1102, Nov 26, 2014
I am absolutely awestruck by the information you provide in your blogs and to other members on here Dr. Arahonov. I have been dependent to Opiates and Alcohol for the long duration of about 10 yrs. I have been in and out of rehabilitation centers, N.A and A.A for the past 6 years and never have I met someone as smart as you or read anything like I have read of yours. As someone who myself studies addiction and tries to understand it fully I can completely say that this method of RAPID DRUG DETOX you have helped develop is unlike anything I have ever heard of. The best part about it is theoretically it sounds and looks as if it is ABSOLUTELY what I need in order for me to become 100% clean. I can explain quickly my drug use history and how I went from pills to heroin and heroin to pills and started I.V drug use 3 years ago and i have now been on Methadone for the past 5 months and been (Technically) drug free. We all know Methadone is a drug and opiate all on its own. Why they give it to drug addicts i will never know. I suppose it is a proper form of maintenance for people who do not truly want to quit. I guess what I am saying is.. I got off methadone to save my life and get away from needles.. Now that I am off needles and never (truly) want to touch them again I want to get off methadone. I went from 110mg down to 45mg and here at 45mg I have stayed..I can't get any lower. My question to you is how do I get into this...MDS Drug Detox center?? I can not afford a Medical Treatment..I can afford the trip from Florida to Michigan but..That would PROBABLY be it.. That would be costly in it self.

Avatar universal
by RoJohnson, Aug 27, 2015
This is a very good explanation of dependency vs. addiction.  Thank you for spelling it out in terms that are easy to understand.  A good methadone treatment center can help those who are addicted to heroin and/or prescription pain medications in order to restore them to a healthier and more productive lifestyle that is free of substance abuse.

Avatar universal
by Aeiouyw, Oct 09, 2015
This article brought me some comfort. My husband and I have been actively taking suboxone for a long time. We both partied non stop as teens, in our 20's we became hooked on percocets. Our addiction never evoled to oxicontin or heroin but we were spending every extra penny we had. We struggled but my husband got up went to work every day and I made the deans list at my school we are functioning addicts. So in our 30's we saught outpatient tx w/suboxone.. Well its 3 yrs later, we have since bought a house new car both work full time we look like the Jones' from afar. Up close we are financially strapped ive become addicted to the suboxone.. I could an have taken 4 a day. My husband just takes his 2 as rx'd. Because I know fast you can loose everything I have begun to taper back down to 2 a day... We have grown materialisticly but my physical and mental health have declined. My husband has lost 30lbs and I lost 50 over the last 2 years. I worry sick over money bills my kids not killing my prescription in 2wks... So I guess what Im trying to say...should I be beating myself up emotionally for taking this taboo medication? Or is it ok? I have been taking my regularly prescribed dose for 2 wks now if they are not being abused and prescribed by a physician is it so taboo? I know as a teen and young adult.

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