A drug that is given to a patient over a period of time may have a number of effects. These need to be accurately described since they have different implications for the patient.



(1) tolerance

(2) physical dependence

(3) psychological dependence

(4) addiction

(5) pseudo-addiction





A drug that is taken repeatedly over a period of time has less effect than when taken initially. This is typically due to physiologic adaptations in drug metabolism or other systems. A drug abuser may need higher and higher doses to achieve the intended "high".

physical dependence

Stopping a drug is followed by the onset of distressing physical signs and symptoms.

psychological dependence

Stopping a drug is followed by the onset of distressing psychological effects (anxiety, nightmares, etc.)


The patient shows (1) dependency, (2) a desire to continue usage despite significant disability associated with continued usage, and (3) obsessive preoccupation with getting and using the addicted substance


A person who is undertreated may show physical signs and symptoms misinterpreted as representing physical withdrawal or drug seeking behavior.

masked addiction

The person manages to keep the addiction hidden from others for a period of time, until it spirals out of control.


Disabilities associated with an addiction may include:

(1) loss of family and friends

(2) loss of occupation

(3) socioeconomic deterioration

(4) personal deterioration


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