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A 44-year-old member asked:

what is the difference between physical dependence vs addiction?

3 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Arthur Hoffman
Psychiatry 57 years experience
Very little: I believe we are splitting hairs. Same thing. If you are physically dependent, that describes the hallmark of addiction. Hope this helps. Whatever you wish to call it, get help yesterday. Talk with your doctor the day before.
Dr. Glen Elliott
Child Psychiatry 43 years experience
Physical vs mental: Physical dependence refers to the effects that occur with some substances ranging from Cocaine and nicotine to caffeine when someone who has been using them heavily try to stop. Addiction refers to a persistent need to keep doing something when you want to stop. Dependence may make that harder, but many addictions are psychological, with no physical consequences to stopping.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Big difference: Some medications given therapeutically can cause physical dependence. For instance, opioid pain medications taken consistently for ~30 days will cause the body to become physically accustomed to them. Tapering is needed. "addiction" means craving more ; more of the substance, focusing on obtaining ; using more -- often neglecting other life roles in the process. Big difference!

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Similar questions

A 32-year-old member asked:

What is the physiological basis for addiction?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Ali answered
Psychiatry 32 years experience
Addiction: Stimulating the reward system in the brain.
A 41-year-old member asked:

How do you get over an addiction?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Seth Kunen
Clinical Psychology 45 years experience
No easy answer: Depends on type of addiction (e.g., drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, eating). Nonetheless, abstinence is difficult to achieve and requires many changes (in lifestyle, friends, social life). Counseling and participation in self-help groups is very helpful. Medication may help. Relapses are common and not necessarily a sign of failure. Families of the addict should join self-help groups as well.
A 45-year-old member asked:

What is the worst and most addictive drug of all?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Roth
Addiction Medicine 43 years experience
Nicotine and alcohol: Nicotine and alcohol are the most toxic drugs and cause the most damage to those who use them and their families.
A 47-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between mental and physical addiction?

5 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Addiction: Physical tolerance to a substance can mean that more & more of it is needed for the same effect; physical addiction can mean having withdrawal symptoms from that substance when without it. "mental" addiction involves the behaviors one does with the substance. People often use more than intended; cannot stop once they start; lie about use; pursue the substance despite bad effects on rest of life.
A 40-year-old member asked:

I need to get over a tv addiction. Should I buy an ipad?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alfredo Garcia
Pediatrics 56 years experience
Facebook addiction: Entice your teenager to work out, either at home or at the gym. Get her involved in community activities, volunteering at the hospital or library, babysitting. Have her pick up a sport - the simplest ones are walking, running.And bike-riding. Most expensive proposition - go shopping. Also, develop hobbies like playing an instrument. Take up art lessons, dance, acting. No, don't substitute ipad.

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Last updated Oct 24, 2017

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