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Substance Abuse vs Dependence: What Are the Differences?

Substance Abuse vs Dependence: What Are the Differences?

More than 35 million people around the world have substance-use disorders and require treatment.

Unfortunately, many don’t get treatment because they can’t spot when use becomes abuse.

If you want to learn more about the different phases of abusing substances, there are a few factors to compare.

Continue reading to discover the differences between substance abuse vs dependence on treatment!


One of the most significant differences between substance abuse vs dependence is intake.

People with substance abuse tend to continue taking increasing amounts of a drug or alcohol. They typically don’t feel satisfied and continue intake, increasing the risk of overdosing.

People with dependence rely heavily on consuming a substance but maintain consistent doses. It’s common for people to have withdrawal symptoms, whether they are abusing or dependent.

Thoughts About Substance-Use

People that are abusing and dependent on substances tend to have different beliefs about their use.

Those suffering from substance dependence think their addiction is safe and positive. This can look like someone smoking cannabis before bed or having a drink each night. These people don’t want to quit and don’t feel like the addiction is harming their lifestyle.

Substance abuse can lead to a lot heavier and more negative feelings with the addiction. The abuse often impacts the person’s ability to maintain jobs and relationships, making it an obstacle. It’s common for people with substance abuse to try quitting many times, with no successful attempts.


The severity and mental state of the person using the substances will influence the treatment necessary.

People who abuse substances often recover from a long-term rehab program that helps them refocus their life. They must be separated from the environment that leads to addiction for a full recovery. Dependence issues can often get resolved through therapy and fasting.

If you want effective guidance on your recovery, native American rehab centers are recommended. These rehab centers offer a safe place to recover and you can discover a new culture and expand your beliefs. Often, treatment must come from a deep level to be truly effective.

Access to Addictions

When someone has a substance abuse disorder, they often spend a lot of time trying to obtain alcohol or drugs.

This impacts their ability to hold down jobs and can also harm family connections. Depending on the type of substance, it may be legal to buy or very difficult to obtain. Most people with dependence issues have substances that can be bought at the corner store.

Can You Identify Substance Abuse vs Dependence?

Comparing substance abuse vs dependence is essential if you or someone you know drinks or uses drugs.

This substance dependence guide can help you spot issues before they become abused and bigger. A beer each night might not seem harmful, but over time it can build dependence and even cause withdrawal symptoms. Don’t wait to find treatment if you feel like a substance is harming your health.

If you want to learn more about substance abuse and how to find treatment, read our blog or the latest content!

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