Two sad teens embracing

What’s the Difference Between Addiction and Dependence? Actually, the Term That Matters Most Is ‘Treatment’

Most people think they know what substance misuse looks like. Maybe it’s an uncle who drinks so much at family gatherings that he stumbles around and tells inappropriate jokes. Or it’s a friend who started smoking marijuana in college and didn’t quit when she “grew up.”

You may wonder whether these folks had an addiction or a dependency on their drug of choice. The answer may be either — or both.

Most people today seem to use the terms “addiction” and “dependency” interchangeably. And, really, there isn’t much difference between them.

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