The Difference between Drug Use and Drug Abuse

Essay by afelton1906College, UndergraduateA-, October 2007

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Explain the difference between drug use and drug abuse. Also, define dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal, and discuss how scientists study abuse.

Studies show that we find ourselves using some type of drug on a regular basis. These drugs may include caffeine, tobacco or even alcohol, and most people use these drugs in moderations as a result they experience no ill-effects.

The problem with drug use for many is when the substance used escalates into what is known as substance abuse. This is when the moderation and ill-effect of drug use turns into a pattern of drug use that diminishes a person’s ability to fulfill responsibilities, which results in repeated use of the drug in dangerous situations, or what lead to legal difficulties related to drug use. An example of this would be: a person who’s drinking causes ill health issues and problems on their job or within their family.

Once a person has began to us drugs on a regular basis and this then escalate into drug abuse, this could then lead to a more serious level of drug use.

The person may then start using the substance compulsively. This is when it’s a level of substance dependence, --which is also known as addiction. Although everyone who abuses a substance does not develop dependency, dependency usually follows abuse.

Dependency often includes tolerance, when a higher dosage of drug is required to produce its original affect. This usually happens after a person has become immune to the substance, and they then find that their body needs a higher dosage to get the original affect. Substance dependence can also be to prevent withdrawal symptoms. These can be described as unpleasant physical or psychological effects following discontinuance of the substance.

The effects of particular drugs are studied under carefully controlled scientific conditions. In...