Many people confuse substance abuse with addiction, and whether the issue is drugs, alcohol, or something else, abuse and addiction have several differences.

Comparing drug abuse to drug addiction
Do you observe behavioral changes in your teenage son lately? As a parent, you want your children to grow as responsible citizens and be successful in their chosen profession. However, there are several risks facing teenagers nowadays, particularly on drug abuse and drug addiction. And on a quick side note, though there has been much debate over the concept of gateway drugs, let us assure that people don’t transition from being on the high school football team one day to intravenous heroin use the next.

People often consider the terms “drug abuse” and “drug addiction” as the same. The truth is, they have different meanings, and it is essential for you to know their difference if you want to seek the appropriate treatments for your loved ones.

What is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse, also called substance abuse, is the utilization by users of certain drugs or chemicals to achieve pleasure, avoid reality, or alleviate their stress. Usually, when your substance abuse cannot be controlled, it will turn into an addiction.

There is an alarming increase in the number of drug abusers around the world, particularly among people below 30 years old. These users face several risks in their physical and mental health. Those who use injections could also contract hepatitis and HIV infections.


What is Drug Addiction?

Also known as substance use disorder, drug addiction is the uncontrolled use of both legal and unlawful medications and chemicals. These substances include nicotine, marijuana, and alcohol. Those who engage in alcohol abuse can become alcoholics, while those who abuse drugs will become drug addicts. In other words, their abuse has turned into chemical dependency.

Addicts who want to stop may experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can compromise their health. They may need professional help and support from their friends and family to end their chemical dependency. For the worst cases, they may require addiction treatment in drug rehab or treatment centers.


Possible Signs of Drug Addiction 

There are several telltale signs your loved ones are abusing drugs or already addicts. If you observe these symptoms, it is best to seek professional help or enter them in a recovery home or halfway house. Here are some indications of addiction:

  • Physical health changes like weight gain or loss, red eyes, and lack of motivation or energy.
  • Frequent absences in work or school or a sudden decline in grades or job performance.
  • Abrupt changes in behavior, like becoming secretive and easily irritated and wanting to be alone.
  • Always asking for money without telling where to use it or missing items in your home.
  • Drastic deterioration of physical appearance or grooming.


How can You Help?

Your support is essential to help your loved ones recover from their addiction. You should not become codependent or provide support to their addictive behaviors. Develop open communication with your family members and try to develop your relationships to discourage them from abusing drugs. If your loved ones are already addicts, consider entering them into a Sober Living facility or treatment centers. In these facilities, professionals will help your family members in recovering from their addiction. You may also convince your family members to join groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous..


Progressive Living operates a network of sober living homes and addiction recovery houses throughout Pennsylvania, including; Levittown, Bristol and Morrissville (Bucks County), PA as well as a sober living apartment complex in Ewing, New Jersey — view our locations. Our recovery residences range from medium to higher structure and are available for men and women ages 18 and up that are new in their sobriety from drug or alcohol addiction. Reach us 7 days a week at: (215) 584-0340 or


Progressive Living | An affordable and effective way to change your life TODAY!


Locations in Bucks County, PA and Ewing, NJ

(215) 584-0340



Progressive Living provides structured sober living homes and addiction recovery housing. Our focus is on helping men & women new in sobriety to re-acclimate into life in a manner that is conducive to living as a proactively sober individual. It is often the case that a client at any of our recovery residences will take part in outpatient treatment during their initial stay here. If requested, we are happy to provide clients with information on local outpatient rehab providers based on prior experience and their overall reputation. Information provided however, is not an endorsement nor based on any clinical matter or assessment.

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