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Drug or alcohol dependence often means that a person needs it to function normally.
Addiction is compulsive use, despite its negative or dangerous effects. Abruptly stopping the drug can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
A person may have a physical dependence on a substance without having an addiction.
For example, certain blood pressure medications do not cause addiction but they can cause physical dependence. Other drugs, such as cocaine, cause addiction without leading to physical dependence. Tolerance to a drug (needing a higher dose to attain the same effect) is usually part of addiction.
Drug abuse can lead to drug dependence or addiction. People who use prescription drugs for pain relief may become dependent, although this is rare in those who don’t have a history of addiction.
People who are more likely to abuse or become dependent on drugs include those who:
• Have depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia
• Have easy access to drugs
• Have low self-esteem, or problems with relationships
• Live a stressful lifestyle, economic or emotional
• Live in a culture where there is a high social acceptance of drug use