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Tolerance or Addiction: Understanding the Difference in Florida Rehab

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. Speak with a Recovery Advocate by calling (855) 771-1581 now.

When discussing substance abuse or deciding whether or not to check into a Florida drug rehab, it is important to understand the meaning of commonly used terms such as tolerance and addiction. Unfortunately, even healthcare providers can interchange terms and lead someone to believe that, if they have a tolerance for a drug, they are also addicted. This may not necessarily be the case.

What is Tolerance?

Tolerance develops when you need increasing amounts of a drug after repeated use to receive the same response that you achieved when you first began taking the drug. A person can develop a tolerance to both prescription and illicit drugs. The main types of tolerance include:

  • Acute tolerance is a condition that can occur when repeatedly exposed to a drug over a short period. This is common with cocaine use, where tests have shown that just one use can elevate the heart rate and blood pressure, but an equal second dose does not have the same effect.
  • Chronic tolerance takes place after the long-term use of a drug. The body and its systems adapt to the drug’s exposure and require more or different means of delivery to achieve the same result. This is common with repeated opioid use.
  • Learned tolerance can occur when a person uses enough drugs over a period of time that they adapt or compensate for the effects. For example, a heavy drinker may not appear drunk even though he or she has consumed massive amounts of alcohol.

Tolerance does not develop the same for everyone, but it can be dangerous with certain drugs such as opioids. Even someone who is not addicted but has a high tolerance for a drug can accidentally overdose if he or she takes too much of a drug.

The Difference Between Tolerance and Addiction

While having a tolerance for a drug can cause or even be a sign of addiction, the presence of tolerance alone does not mean that you have a substance use disorder. Tolerance will also often lead to dependence, which means that you will experience some withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug. Again, there is a distinction between these terms and what characterizes addiction.

The National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” Specifically, if you have an overwhelming desire and need to use drugs even when they have a negative impact on your health, relationships, finances, and overall wellbeing, there is a good chance that you have entered addiction territory.

Get Help for Addiction at a Florida Drug Rehab

If you find that your feelings and behavior match the definition of addiction, you are certainly not alone. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 20.2 million adults in the U.S. have a substance use disorder. Even if you just have a tolerance or dependence on drugs, it is important to understand that this could keep building as long as you continue to use and the results will not be positive.

Addiction is a dangerous and often fatal condition that requires treatment. Fortunately, you can attend a compassionate Florida drug rehab that will tailor a program to fit your exact needs. The Orlando Recovery Center understands that making the choice to stop using drugs can be a challenge. Contact us now to speak with one of our addiction specialists about how our drug rehab programs can help you reclaim your life.