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"dependence" by itself has little meaning in the field of addiction treatment. This is because currently the phrase "substance dependence" and "physical dependence" have very different meanings. Which "dependence" is someone referring to when the word is used alone in this context? Confusing the two could lead to a misunderstanding at best and a misdiagnosis at worse.

There is some talk within the industry to bring back the word "addiction" to use in place of "substance dependence" in an effort to help with some of the confusion. For the time being we are stuck with two similar phrases with two very different meanings. Understanding the difference is essential. see: physical dependence, substance dependence, craving, and addiction.

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