Types of Dependence

What is Addiction or Dependence?

Addiction or dependence means feeling that you need a substance in order to carry on doing what you want to do, even if problems result from its use. If you are dependent on a substance (like illicit drugs or alcohol) then you might be said to be addicted to it. Drug addiction is the compulsive use of a substance, despite its negative or dangerous effects.

But overall, we shouldn't view addiction or dependence in simple or absolute terms (that someone is either a hopeless addict or not). People may be dependent on substances in many different ways and to a variety of degrees of intensity.

Addiction doesn’t stop at drugs and alcohol. People can become overly attached to gambling, sex, shopping, computer games - even just browsing social networking sites or using the internet. These non-drug addictive behaviors are similar in that the person has a lack of control over their behavior.

Why do people use drugs?

  • Forget: to alleviate misery, poverty, disadvantage and everyday problems of life
  • Self-medication: to relieve feelings of fear, anxiety and depression
  • Pain relief: to relieve physical symptoms of pain
  • Lifestyle: Peer Pressure
  • Enjoyment: for pleasurable effects and for fun
  • Tradition: as part of symbolic or religious ceremonies

Combating Stigma

For almost a century, the predominant view of opioid addiction has been that it is a self-induced or self-inflicted condition resulting from a character disorder or moral failing and that this condition is best handled as a criminal matter. However, this view is changing in India and the Government of India has now started addressing people falling prey to opioid dependence as ‘victims’ of drug addiction.

Stigma affects patients in various ways. It discourages them from entering treatment and prompts them to leave treatment early. It creates a barrier for those trying to access other parts of the health care system.

Stigma affects the treatment programs too. It prevents new programs from opening when community opposition develops. It can affect a program’s internal operations. Staff members who work in opioid treatment programs sometimes absorb society’s antipathy toward patients in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction and may deliver program services with a punitive or counter therapeutic demeanor. Opioid treatment programs must guard against these attitudes through supervision, education, and leadership efforts.

To get more information choose the addiction you are seeking treatment for:

Stages of Drug Addiction

There are several stages of drug use that may lead to dependence. Young people seem to move more quickly through the stages than do adults.

  • Experimental use -- typically involves peers, done for recreational use; the user may enjoy defying parents or other authority figures.
  • Regular use -- the user misses more and more school or work; worries about losing drug source; uses drugs to "fix" negative feelings; begins to stay away from friends and family; may change friends to those who are regular users; shows increased tolerance and ability to "handle" the drug.
  • Daily preoccupation -- the user loses any motivation; does not care about school and work; has obvious behavior changes; thinking about drug use is more important than all other interests, including relationships; the user becomes secretive; may begin dealing drugs to help support habit; use of other, harder drugs may increase; legal problems may increase.
  • Dependence -- cannot face daily life without drugs; denies problem; physical condition gets worse; loss of "control" over use; may become suicidal; financial and legal problems get worse; may have broken ties with family members or friends.

Drugs of Abuse


Cannabis is a drug produced from the Cannabis sativa (commonly known as hemp) or Cannabis indica plant, which is related to nettles and hops. It's believed to have originated in the mountainous regions of India, and grows wild in many parts of the world.

The plant contains more than 400 chemicals, including cannabidiolic acid, an antibiotic with similar properties to penicillin. The different chemical derivatives of the plant can be used for medicinal or recreational purposes.

The recreational drug cannabis comes in many forms – herbal (dried plant material), resin, powder and oil - and is known by many slang terms, including weed, pot, grass and hash.

Cannabis acts as a mild sedative, leaving most people feeling relaxed, chilled out or just sleepy. It also:

  • Has mild hallucinogenic effects, causing a distortion of reality
  • Makes some people become more animated
  • Releases inhibitions, making people talkative or giggly
  • Can cause nausea in some people (despite the fact that cannabis can have an anti-nausea effect), while it quite often makes others feel hungry


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