5 doctors weighed in:
What is the difference between a tolerance/dependence and an addiction?
5 doctors weighed in

David Miller
Family Medicine
3 doctors agree
In brief: Three things
You have mentioned three different things: tolerance - needing more of a drug to get the same effect.
Very common in many drugs. Dependence - a physical/psychological need for a drug, often accompanied by specific symptoms if you stop taking it. Addiction - pattern of [harmful] behaviors involving a substance or behavior; typically involves dependence/tolerance related to the substance/behavior.

In brief: Three things
You have mentioned three different things: tolerance - needing more of a drug to get the same effect.
Very common in many drugs. Dependence - a physical/psychological need for a drug, often accompanied by specific symptoms if you stop taking it. Addiction - pattern of [harmful] behaviors involving a substance or behavior; typically involves dependence/tolerance related to the substance/behavior.
David Miller
David Miller
Answer assisted by David Miller, Medical Student
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Dr. James Marx
Pain Management
In brief: Semantics
Tolerance is a normal consequence of repeated exposure to a drug.
It can be accelerated by exposure to high, intermittent levels. Tolerance is not the same as addiction where there is a abnormal dependence upon a substance associated with adverse consequences-be it legal, behavioral or otherwise. Dependence may or may not be an adverse situation based upon a number of factors such as preoccupation.

In brief: Semantics
Tolerance is a normal consequence of repeated exposure to a drug.
It can be accelerated by exposure to high, intermittent levels. Tolerance is not the same as addiction where there is a abnormal dependence upon a substance associated with adverse consequences-be it legal, behavioral or otherwise. Dependence may or may not be an adverse situation based upon a number of factors such as preoccupation.
Dr. James Marx
Dr. James Marx
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