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Abuse or Addiction

When Substance Abuse Turns Into Addiction

shutterstock_290627363The two terms Addiction and Substance Abuse are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they have two very different meanings. You may be involved in both substance abuse and addiction at the same time, or you may be only involved with one or the other.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is defined as using excessive amounts of drugs or alcohol to reach a mind altering high, often to resolve an overwhelming personal dilemma. It can be a one-time ordeal, or it can be recurring. What makes it substance abuse is that the amount is excessive and the intent is to enter a substance induced state of mind that inhibits normal brain function. You can engage in substance abuse without having an addiction, but not for long.


Addiction includes a wide variety of habits and cravings that commonly relate to personal experiences and genetics. Serious addictions can involve prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, nicotine, gambling, sex, food, video games, and more. Different addiction can evolve from different circumstances and can have different effects. Being an addict does not necessarily mean being a drug user or an alcoholic. Being addicted simply means that you cannot go about your daily life without succumbing to real cravings for any particular substance or behavior.

Why Substance Abuse is Correlated with Addiction

Substance abusers and addicts are so commonly put into the same category because substance abuse becomes addictive. When people have inner conflicts that they cannot resolve, they turn to what’s available. Whether it’s self-medication or alcoholism, substance abuse provides a temporary way to escape the agony they experience. Once the initial high wears off, the problem returns, and it is only a matter of time before another short term solution is needed to combat the pain. The inner conflicts will never be resolved through substance abuse and as the person continues to mask the pain through using, they eventually become addicted. Without intervention or severe life alteration, the substance abuse becomes a habit and the habit inevitably and absolutely will become an addiction.

Treatment for both Substance Abuse and Addiction

By the time an individual decides to seek help, the substance abuse has already led to a serious addiction. The degree of the addiction and the types of substances used determine the types of treatment needed for recovery. Sprout Health Florida recognizes that addiction and substance abuse must both be treated in the rehabilitation process and that physical and mental dependence need to be carefully evaluated to provide the correct treatment.

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Call 866-873-3148 for a FREE confidential assessment.

After completing the assessment, Sprout Health Florida offers several different types of therapies to provide treatment for behavioral and mental tendencies of those who struggle with addiction. These therapies address all areas necessary to the path of recovery.