When talking about drug addiction, ‘abuse’ and ‘dependence’ are two terms that are used a lot and often done so interchangeably. In fact, the two terms are different and a drug abuser is not someone that is necessarily dependent on drugs.
A drug abuser is an individual that knows the risks of taking drugs and the adverse effect that they are having on health and well-being, but continues to use them. Drug abusers often find themselves continually abusing drugs despite every other aspect of their lives failing apart around them, including poor performance at school or work, legal problems related to drug use and social difficulties.
Drug dependence comes from an individual developing a tolerance for drugs and a need to consume higher doses to achieve the same high. Drug dependence is drug addiction and individuals must take drugs just to function. They will also suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug.
Drug dependence results in a person being obsessed with the drug and an entire lifestyle being consumed by it. An individual will also suffer from an inability to stop taking the drug.