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Dependence vs. Addiction
It's so easy to misuse words unintentionally that I was interested to read the difference between (Physical) Dependence and Addiction. (I believe I'm physically-dependent upon clonazepam now having read this but thought I was addicted. Regardless, I'm getting off clonazepam/no more benzos under my Dr.'s care, no matter how long it takes. A personal decision.)
"Physical dependence on a substance (drug or alcohol) may be a component of addiction, but it does not itself equal addiction.
Dependence is characterized by tolerance or withdrawal symptoms and can be a consequence of many drugs, such as pain medications, stimulants, and antidepressants.
Addiction, on the other hand, is a mental disease that includes both physical and psychological dependence and is manifested via behavioral symptoms, most notably continued use of the substance in spite of clear harmful effects on the individual and their family."
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If you have always taken your meds as directed. It is possible to be physically addicted not to have a brain disease. Of course, more will be revealed after you stop. Bezo;s can be very dangerous coming off .
I wanted to bring a few more members into this conversation on dependence vs. addiction. @stressedmesseddepressed talked about seeing what was thought to be addiction was actually physical dependence upon clonazepam. I thought that @johnhans @jimhd @jakedduck1 @rwinney and @sandytoes14 might have some thoughts on this topic of how one knows whether they are addicted or just physically dependent on a medication.
I also wanted to share this article interviewing a pain specialist from Mayo Clinic, Tracy Harrison, M.D. https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/trauma/news/treating-pain-responsibly-in-the-midst-of-an-opioid-epidemic/mqc-20438006. This is written for medical professionals, but I believe very readable for patients, as well.
@johnwhitfield – you mentioned a while back that if you have always taken your meds as directed, it is possible to be physically addicted not to have a brain disease. Wondering if you'd share more about this?
I know that I take more medications than others, but there's a reason for each one. After I cleared it with my doctor, I recently stopped taking Diltiazem, which a cardiologist prescribed because I was having brief episodes of tachycardia. It only happened once in a while and wasn't problematic.
I've been taking Clonazepam, 1mg at bedtime, originally for anxiety, but along the way I found that it keeps me from acting out my dreams, something my wife did not appreciate. It's the one medication that she doesn't complain about. It's hard to know just how much it decreases the panic attacks, but they've become less frequent.
I've been taking morphine sulfate contin for around 5 years. 2 or 3 years ago I tapered off it to see if it was having an effect on my neuropathy pain. After being off it for two weeks I knew that it was relieving the pain. I had been taking 30mg tid, but when I restarted it I only got up to 15mg tid. I decided to try stopping it, and I'm down to 15mg in the morning. The pain is so randomly up and down that it's kind of hard to track it. I haven't experienced any negative side effects in the tapering off process, so I don't think that it could be said that I was addicted to it.
Antidepressants – I know how deeply depressed I was before I started taking them, and I really don't want to go back there, so I think that what I take is a maintenance level. I'm still aware of depression, but it doesn't consume me anymore. I thought I'd never be able to say that for a long time. It took me years to get out of the dark hole I was in. As long as the medications keep me stable, I'll continue to take them. I don't see it as an addiction at all, rather a need in my body to regulate my brain chemistry.
I suppose that some people would have an addiction problem if they were to take some of the meds I take. I've never had a problem with addiction, to drugs or alcohol or nicotine or a behavioral addiction. I believe that some people are predisposed to addiction.
Enough from me for tonight.
My first thought is that I'm really mad and frustrated to be on opiods, still to this day, especially because I'm the don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs person. Therefore, it has and continues to be a thorn in my side. Also, I am a child of a chronic pain mother since age 8. Watched it, never wanted to live it.
I've been on an opioid for 3 years and without a doubt I am physically dependant…the nature of the beast. Along my path, I've gone off cold turkey just to prove to myself that my brain wasn't addicted and I had the power, not the drug. My guide line is always that if my pain doesn't warrant use I'm able to not even think about the drug. This is huge to me. Unfortunately, my pain has escalated, neuropathy is progressive and pain need has increased
That leaves me with the angle of…ok, now what do I do? Don't want to be on long term as in the rest of my life. So, I keep looking for safer, healthier, alternative pain management. How can I be proactive for my overall well being. Can I alter my daily relief for the betterment of forever relief. There are no easy answers.
Each person has to soul search and make their own decisions, along with their Dr, on what is the best path for them. I don't walk in anyone else's shoes therefore will not judge others.
Hope my thoughts help in this touchy conversation. Have a nice day y'all.
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