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Defining Addiction:

Another word for addiction is “dependence.” There are two kinds of substance dependence:

Psychological Dependence
Psychological dependence occurs when a person feels he or she needs the drug to function or feel comfortable (e.g., needing to drink alcohol to feel relaxed in social situations, or needing to be high to enjoy sex). Some people come to feel they need a substance just to be able to cope with daily life.

Physical Dependence
Physical dependence occurs when a person’s body has adapted to the presence of a drug. Tolerance has developed, which means that the person needs to use more of the drug to get the same effect. When drug use stops, symptoms of withdrawal occur.

No one plans to become addicted. People may think that they can handle their substance use and that they only use when they want to. But when they want to change the way they use, they may find that it is not that simple.

Because substance use is common, it is important to be able to see when a person’s use puts him or her at risk of developing a problem.

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