Substance misuse is commonly used as the layman’s or non-technical term for substance dependence. However, there is a slight difference. Since some individuals may have a physical dependence on a medication, for example, without experiencing a compulsion for ingesting or otherwise taking it into their bodies, the substance dependence in this case would not be considered an substance misuse. An example might be a diabetic’s physical dependence upon his insulin. The heroin user with a substance use disorder, on the other hand, is both psychologically and physically dependent upon the drug. Then, it is considered an substance misuse. Sometimes, the distinction between substance dependence and substance misuse is more difficult to make, when the substance is a prescribed medication. The diabetic’s insulin and the cardiac patient’s heart medication do not reflect substance misuse, even though the individuals are physically dependent upon them. But addition to prescription drugs, indicating both psychological dependence upon the drug and a compulsion to take it) can and does often occur with certain groups of pharmaceutical therapies, e.g., the benzodiazapines.

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