Dependence Vs Addiction: Know The Difference?

Written by Freelancing Writer and Editor : Olayinka Sodiq


Consistent abuse of drugs after knowing the consequences is called Addiction. While dependence simply means the intake of drugs when the body is dependent on it. Some people tend to confuse and interchange those words but there are clear differences.

Meaning of Dependence

Dependence simply means human’s psychological loss of control which results from substance abuse. Having to be under the influence of drugs or medication in order to perform or carry out basic everyday duties, that’s called dependence. continuous intake of such drugs could lead to physical dependence on the drug. Too many times it begins with a doctor’s prescription and the patient becomes unable to stop the medication because the body was dependent on the drug to function properly. Some patients such as asthma, seizure, and diabetes amongst others are dependent on medications because their health requires it.

What Is Addiction?

Individuals with a strong obligation to use a specific substance are addicted. It begins with the consumption of drugs for gratification, but then the continuous intake of the substance continued the use of the substance results in negative consequences. Addiction does not have to be substances or drugs. A  lot of people are addicted to relationships, food, gaming, betting and so on. Both addiction and dependence affect the health, relationship, responsibilities and so on negatively if taken to the extreme. interestingly, the addict may be unaware of the negative effects their habits have on other people. An addict takes the drugs or substance to attain pleasurable effects of the substance. Dependence is simply the physical reliance on alcohol or drugs while addiction involves mental, physical and emotional dependence on the drug.

Psychological Dependence

Psychological dependence on drugs is simply about the thoughts and emotions of a person. Psychological dependence is having a strong desire to consume a certain quantity of substance despite being fully aware of its negative and life-threatening effects. For some people, preparing for a long drive, alcohol or simply sleeping could trigger the intake of a certain substance, some people actually believe they cannot sleep without pills, that’s psychological dependence.

Physiological Dependence

The process in which the body becomes reliant on certain drugs or substance in order to function is called physical dependence. physiologically dependence on medication means he/she will have serious health hazards when not on the substance or drug. This can even occur during the usage of a prescribed drug, it could be legal or illegal. Legal drugs such as caffeine and sugar could lead to physiological dependence.


While trying to understand the difference between addiction and dependence, too many factors come into play. The doctor’s opinion and the patient physical and mental state of health should be considered. Sometimes physical dependence left unchecked can lead to addiction.

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