There are a number of different ways that drug use can become a problem for an individual. The one that most people hear about is addiction; another term tossed around is drug abuse. When hearing these terms, a person might wonder if they are the same thing, and if not, what the difference might be.
Most simply, drug abuse is chronic misuse of a substance. Addiction, on the other hand, is a condition marked by a compulsive need to use a substance. These conditions are related to one another and exist on a spectrum; nevertheless, there are marked differences, though sometimes it can be hard to tell what they are.
The discussion below provides a basic, point-to-point comparison of drug abuse and addiction to clarify the differences – and similarities – between the two.