Tolerance, Dependence, Addiction

Many users develop tolerance to and dependence upon medications. This is normal.

TOLERANCE:

If you take a medication during several years, your body will become used to it and will require higher doses. This is tolerance which is not bad even if it is not necessarily what you want. In order to prevent tolerance, it might be a good idea to combine two or several medications in smaller doses. Your body will take more time to get used to a combination.

DEPENDENCE:

Dependence is a physical state that occurs when the lack of a medication causes the body to have a reaction. Dependence, if medication is abruptly discontinued, leads to physical issues such as sweating, racing heart and nausea. Different medications cause different withdrawal symptoms. In order to prevent these unpleasant reactions, your physician will help you to reduce doses progressively if you wish to stop taking a medication.

ADDICTION:

Addiction and dependence are very different. Addiction has a large psychological component when dependence is mainly physical. Addiction is a disease preventing someone from functioning properly and forcing the person into compulsive use of a substance, even if that substance causes negative results. These destructive effects include damage to families, careers, and health in general. The patient with addictions continues to take the substance in spite of negative side effects. Addiction prevents one from functioning properly; on the other hand, proper use of medications allows patients to work, have a family and a good quality of life. The pain patient’s health improves and the addicted patient’s condition does worse. Addiction among pain sufferers is very rare.



EANPA - Edmonton (Alberta) Nerve Pain Association