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What is Addiction?

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Another word for addiction is “dependence.” There are two kinds of substance dependence:

Psychological dependence occurs when a person feels he or she needs the drug to function or feel comfortable (e.g., needing to drink alcohol to feel relaxed in social situations, or needing to be high to enjoy sex). Some people come to feel they need a substance just to be able to cope with daily life.

Physical dependence occurs when a person’s body has adapted to the presence of a drug. Tolerance has developed, which means that the person needs to use more of the drug to get the same effect. When drug use stops, symptoms of withdrawal occur.

People often think that psychological dependence is not as serious as physical dependence. This is not necessarily true. Cocaine, for example, does not cause physical dependence—but it is considered one of the easiest drugs to get hooked on and one of the hardest to give up.

To Learn More about Addictions, visit CAMH Centre for Addiction and Mental Health here »

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Open Line Open Mind 310-OPEN (6736) is a free, confidential service to get information, support and referral to all mental health and addictions services in Hastings & Prince Edward Counties in Ontario, Canada. Call 310-OPEN and be connected to someone with an open mind to help you when you need it. We are OPEN 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.