What Is The Difference Between Substance Misuse vs. Abuse?

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Intention and motivation are key factors that help to determine the difference between substance misuse vs. abuse. The rising percentages of emergency room visits from drug misuse and abuse have people wondering what the differences are. There is a distinct difference between abuse and misuse which can be easily understood. Both misuse and abuse are dangerous situations that could cause life-threatening possibilities. Making a clear distinction is important in determining treatment for either. 

What Is Substance Misuse?

Determining the difference between substance misuse vs. abuse begins with the motivation to misuse an already prescribed medication by overuse. Some people believe that they can control their own dosage of medication. In some cases, the body builds up a tolerance to medications, and the thought process is that taking more than the prescribed dosage will not hurt. This is simply not true and a false belief. Taking more medication than the prescribed dosage can lead to physical illness, a pathway to addiction, or even overdose. While the motivation to decrease pain by taking a higher dosage of medication is the intention, the misuse is still not healthy or wise. 

What Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse relies on a completely different motivation based on the intention of experiencing a “high” or inflicting self-harm. Abusing substances is an addictive substance disorder and can cause physical and mental harm, disrupt lifestyles, ruin relationships, and l.ead to death. Abusing a substance with either of these intentions can be the difference between substance misuse vs. abuse and needs to be addressed. Substance abuse falls under the heading of a dangerous disorder maintained with a negative or unhealthy line of thinking. 

How to Distinguish Between Substance Misuse vs. Abuse

Making a determination as to whether you or a loved one deals with drug abuse or drug misuse can be done by evaluating important factors. Professionals use proven methods of finding the difference between substance misuse and abuse when evaluating a person. This evaluation can determine the extent of the drug problem you or a loved one is facing. Physicians and mental health professionals receive training in assessing and diagnosing drug abuse and misuse. 

What can begin as a lapse in judgment can become a serious misstep and lead to addiction. Before addiction occurs, it is important to determine the difference between substance misuse and abuse. Be honest with yourself or your loved one when reviewing these issues. Factors that can determine substance misuse are:

  • Not following directions relating to prescription drugs, including dosage amounts and times.
  • Making changes of a person’s own determination with the dosage of medication
  • Taking medications not prescribed to the person
  • Using prescribed medications for other reasons than what it was prescribed for i.e., headaches or muscle strains

Those who are abusing a substance or medication can have distorted beliefs, thought patterns, and behaviors. The difference between substance misuse and abuse can be as simple as the likelihood of overdose. The most important factor is time – take quick action to treat an addiction. These factors indicate a pattern proven to be indicative of substance use disorder:

  • Lack of control in usage of the substance
  • A build-up of tolerance for the drug
  • The substance is of the highest priority in the user’s life
  • Ignoring harmful symptoms experienced from drug abuse

Dangers of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is not only dangerous, it is a bomb waiting to explode. Addiction can negatively affect one’s occupation, relationships, and physical and mental well-being. The difference between substance misuse and abuse can be the threat of overdose and the negative possibilities are endless. What could have begun as misuse becomes an overwhelming and uncontrollable need for the drug. 

Substance abuse can wreak havoc on the body and mind. It also can disrupt eating and sleeping habits. In turn, this causes weakness and physical debilitation. The difference between substance misuse and abuse indicates that drug addiction can cause brain damage. Drug addiction leads to illness and injuries, some serious. Another important detriment of drug addiction involves the effect the addiction has on the loved ones, family, and friends of the addict. 

Find Treatment for Substance Abuse

Mental health professionals and physicians will determine the difference between substance misuse and abuse through their assessments and evaluations. Once a person makes the decision to enter treatment, designing the right plan for them begins. Substance abuse treatment often involves detoxification first. The body has become dependent on the drug and withdrawal can be dangerous for the mind and body. Medical professionals and experienced drug rehab professionals direct the detox process.  

A combination of therapies works together to treat substance abuse. Clinicians determine which programs to use. For example, some people need inpatient, while others benefit from outpatient programs. The difference between misuse and abuse is stated in the form of treatment involved because addiction is much more intense to treat. Medical management could be part of the treatment process to alleviate painful or intense symptoms. While in treatment the addict will learn how to live life as a sober person. As a result, they will begin making healthy and positive decisions. Additionally, using healthy coping mechanisms will replace urges to use substances.

Finding the Difference between Substance Misuse vs. Abuse in Los Angeles

If you or a loved one are trying to determine the difference between substance misuse vs. abuse, we can help you. Launch Centers in Los Angeles employs experienced and caring mental health professionals backed by supportive rehab specialists. Additionally, we can answer your questions and help you take that first step to sobriety. Those involved with misuse are also welcome to contact us to aid in stopping the misuse and learning healthy and positive coping mechanisms. Reach out here for us to help you make the first step to change your life. 

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