Substance Dependence

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Frequently asked questions

What is drug dependence?

Drug dependence is defined as a psychological and physical state in which a person's compulsions to take a drug on a continuous or periodic basis in order to experience its influence and, at times, to avoid the discomfort of its absence are manifested through behavioural and other responses.

What do withdrawal symptoms indicate?

People may recognise symptoms of withdrawal when they stop taking or cut back on a substance. Not taking your drug of choice, might result in symptoms of substance withdrawal such as fatigue, headache, irritability, anxiety, vomiting and diarrhoea. Symptoms of withdrawal are an indication of dependence on a substance.

What are the signs of a substance dependence disorder?

Signs and symptoms of substance dependence can include:

  • Feeling of exhilaration and excess confidence.
  • Increased alertness.
  • Increased energy and restlessness.
  • Behaviour changes or aggression.
  • Rapid or rambling speech.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Confusion, delusions and hallucinations.
  • Irritability, anxiety or paranoia.

What is drug-seeking behaviour?

Drug-seeking refers to any action taken by an individual in order to obtain a specific substance. For example, if you want to get drunk, you might go to a bar or club. If you want to take drugs, you might visit your local dealer.

It's important to get treatment for any kind of addiction right away so that you don't have to deal with serious problems later.

What is the difference between substance abuse and substance dependence?

When people talk of addiction, they usually mean the dangerous behaviours that come with substance abuse. The physical symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance are referred to as dependence.

What are the two types of drug dependence?

Physical dependence is widespread among drugs including opiates, cigarettes, and alcohol. Psychological dependency, on the other hand, impacts a person emotionally and psychologically rather than, or in addition to, physical dependency.

What are the effects of dependence?

Side effects of drug addiction may include:

  • Nausea and abdominal pain, that can also lead to changes in appetite and weight loss.
  • Increased strain on the liver, which puts the person at risk of significant liver damage or liver failure. 
  • Seizures, stroke, mental confusion and brain damage.

What Is A Co-Occurring Disorder?

A co-occurring disorder is a type of mental health problem that occurs alongside a substance dependence. People who have co-occurring disorders are at risk for experiencing a number of negative outcomes.
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