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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tolerance vs. Addiction

Tolerance vs. Addiction



Tolerance vs. Addiction


Addiction and tolerance are often looked at as the same thing.  Even people who have suffered from addiction may not know the difference.  While one may generally accompany the other, they are two totally different concepts.  Tolerance typically leads to addiction, but someone who has a tolerance for drugs or alcohol may not necessarily be addicted.  Contrarily, a person who suffers from addiction will have tolerance for certain substances.  

When a person gets high or drunk, their brain receives it as pleasure and releases an excess amount of dopamine, causing a high.  When you continue to use, your brain recognizes the drug and begins naturally producing a smaller amount of dopamine receptors.  The less dopamine that is released results in a user’s inability to get high using the same amount they once did.  Tolerance is built through this process, resulting in a gradual increase of amount needed.  One of many problems regarding tolerance is it is not increased for all effects of a drug.  While you may need more to feel high, you don’t need more for other potentially dangerous side effects, such as heart attack or respiratory depression.  A person with a tolerance to a substance is at a higher risk of overdose.

There are three different types of tolerance.  The first is acute tolerance, which is short-term tolerance caused by repeated exposure to a substance in a short amount of time.  Cocaine is a drug likely to result in acute tolerance because the effects are so short lived that a user constantly needs more to keep the high going.  The second type of tolerance is chronic tolerance, which is tolerance developed over a longer period of time, maybe months or years.  Opioids can cause long-term tolerance because users are always looking for different methods of using to increase its effects.  Learned tolerance is the third type and is caused by repeated use of a drug.  A person with learned tolerance essentially teaches themselves how to act appropriately in certain situations, even when they are under the influence.

Although an addict is created by developing a tolerance, addiction is quite different.  Addiction can be referred to as insanity; doing the same things over and over again despite known negative consequences.  When someone is addicted to a substance, their entire life is organized around it; getting it, using it, lying about it, and getting more.  Everything and everyone besides a drug in an addict’s life gets steamrolled by their addiction.  An addict has an inability to control how much they use and when they’ll stop.  If you’re building a tolerance to a certain substance, it’s quite possible you may be on your way to addiction.  


The answer to recovery is Simple. Our multi-tiered program is designed to help your loved one find success on a new path in life through school, work, and meaningful volunteering. Structured for progress, clients at Simple Recovery transition seamlessly through each phase of their recovery.

Call us today for information: 877-426-9117

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