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Hauppauge Opioid Abuse vs Dependence

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“Opioid abuse” and “opioid dependence” are terms to describe drug use which affects someone’s behaviour or life. Although these two terms are related, they represent two different health conditions. To learn more about the use and effects of opioids, contact Hauppage Drug Treatment Center.

What is opioid abuse?

Opioid abuse is the situation when you take a drug (pain reliever, antidepressant, narcotic, sedative, etc.) without medical supervision or in larger doses than prescribed. Drug abuse presumes that the use of such substances puts you in dangerous situations. These can affect your health, or make you neglect your daily commitments at home, school or work.

What is opioid dependence?

Opioid dependence is when you have a very strong physical or psychological need for an opioid, and you experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take it. That’s the situation when your body or mind actually depends on drugs you took in order to function “normally”.

Symptoms and treatment in Hauppage, NY

According to scientific researchers, even if abuse may lead to dependence, the two conditions are not similar. They have different symptoms or signs, and different treatment approaches. We described them in the table below.

Health conditionRelated signs or symptomsTreatment approaches
Opioid abuse- Risk-taking behavior such as being arrested for a drug related behavior
- Engaging in illegal activities: driving under the effects of opioids
- Having interpersonal problems: arguing with family members, relatives, breaking up with a partner over opiate use
- Losing interest in daily activities: miss work frequently, or fail to pick up kids from school
- There is no need for detoxification
- Requires counseling, group therapy and education
- Doctors recommend medications that may help giving up the drug use, treating emotional disorders and reducing cravings
Opioid dependence- Developing tolerance to the drug (need more and more to get the needed effect)
- Experiencing physical and emotional symptoms (nausea, vomiting, tremors, chills, low blood pressure, irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, etc.) within a few hours after the last dose
- Being incapable to admit that you have a problem with drugs
- Attempting to quit using the drug repeatedly without success
- Detoxification is required
- You are medically supervised while you are in a treatment facility
- The doctor prescribes medications (naltrexone, methadone or acamprosate) to help with cravings and to avoid a relapse
- After the detoxification process there might be the need for counseling and self-help groups


If you or your loved one need help with opioid dependence treatment, call our Drug Treatment Center Hauppage at (631) 729-7104.