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Some Differences between Drug or Alcohol Use, Abuse and Dependence

Westside Behavioral Care / Alcohol Abuse  / Some Differences between Drug or Alcohol Use, Abuse and Dependence
Some Differences between Drug or Alcohol Use, Abuse and Dependence

Often people seem highly satisfied with their lifestyles, but if everyone is so happy then why is our society so affected by drug or alcohol consumption, abuse and addiction? We may use  these terms interchangeably, but there are major differences:

Experimentation Only

Alone or with others, one might consume alcohol or drugs in limited quantities and on an infrequent basis. This may be experimentation only, but it risks the development of more serious problems such as Abuse or Dependence.


Abuse occurs whenever one is drinking alcoholic beverages or taking drugs to change or take control of one’s frame of mind in such a way that is dangerous or deleterious to self or others.

Abuse can happen because of many challenges in life such as legal issues, health issues, work issues and family or love issues. It can have a substantial, negative impact on many aspects of life; for example, it may ruin relationships with friends or family, encourage aggressive, criminal, or violent behavior, and lead to substantive problems with finances. It can also result in addiction, known in professional circles as “Dependence,” which constitutes one of the most serious and potentially life-ruining or even life-threatening problems one can have.


Use or abuse of alcohol and drugs can be seriously addicting, constituting a very risky and dangerous activity. With addiction, one frequently and in large quantities consumes alcohol or drugs despite the fact that social, psychological and/or physical problems have developed from such use.

This can be a very chronic condition and is considered an illness that requires therapy, often begun in a facility and followed by outpatient therapy in the community. Addiction is also progressive in character – and may get worse as time passes. Additionally the addict frequently is in denial about the degree and extent of the problem.

A great many counselors and practitioners believe  that addicts first have to accept that they have a serious issue before therapy can help.There are a number of highly trained therapists in the Denver area with advanced licenses and certifications who are available to help people with drug or alcohol problems.

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