Frequently, payers, health care providers, and even epidemiologists utilize claims data based on diagnosis code data to guide policy and treatment. However, a recent study  raises significant concerns about the accuracy of these diagnostic data. The problem, we argue, is caused by confusingly-worded International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 and ICD-10 codes, which reflect a general misunderstanding of the difference between addiction and physiologic dependence. Substance use disorder and physical dependency are related, but not the same. “Substance use disorder” is the medical term for addiction and physical dependency describes the phenomenon of your body becoming physiologically dependent on a substance.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
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A patient with a SUD begins to lose the ability to effectively prioritize their well-being over the continued use of the drug. Because of the direct effects on the brain, an addicted patient will often act out of character and develop an inability to determine whether and when their use has become problematic and uncontrollable. Therapy can be in the form of counseling, behavioral therapy, self-help groups, group therapy, mindfulness, or a combination of modalities. Education is learning how to overcome and cope with the effects of addiction, such as compulsive cravings, and how to establish a healthier lifestyle. Together, therapy and education teach individuals how to get to the root of their addiction, defeat difficult emotions and cravings, establish healthful routines, and discover their best possible selves. If a person is exhibiting two or more of the above symptoms, professional substance use treatment is recommended.
Is marijuana addictive?
In summary, being dependent on a drug means that the body has become accustomed to the presence of the drug, while addiction is a psychological disorder characterized by an obsessive need to use a substance, despite negative consequences. While dependence and addiction often occur together, they are not the same thing. Generally, those who are physically dependent on a drug will benefit from detoxification. This is a supervised clinical environment where one can safely work through the withdrawal period that accompanies a SUD, to rid their body of the toxins from drugs and alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms from certain drugs can be fatal, so it is important that detox is done professionally, in a safe and controlled medical facility. SUD creates changes in the brain that make it particularly difficult to stop using the drug.
You will likely be asked a series of questions about your usage and any effects it has had on your relationships and responsibilities. Drug dependence refers to the physical changes that occur in the body as a result of chronic drug use. When a person becomes dependent on a drug, their body has adapted to the presence of the drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly stopped. Dependence can occur with the regular use of any drug, including prescription medications and illicit drugs. Untreated substance use disorders – whether they are mild or severe – can be detrimental to a person’s mental, physical, emotional, social, and even financial health. That is why professional treatment is always recommended, no matter whether a person is dependent on a drug or has a full-blown addiction to it.
The difference between dependence and addiction
Before you decide to stop drinking, talk to a healthcare provider to determine what treatment options are available and whether you would benefit from medical supervision during detox. If you have been consuming alcohol heavily for an extended period, quitting on your own has the potential to be dangerous. In contrast, with SUD, a patient’s actions are directed primarily by an overwhelming need to accommodate the brain’s reward center, and the part of the brain that guides self-control and decision making is directly impeded.