Junkie’s Addiction – semantics

Splitting hairs in definitions, another J.K. babbling semantic stream.

J and I were talking about addiction, and the difference between an addict and a junkie.

The difference we came up with was that an addict‘s addiction doesn’t interfere with their ability to function within society, whereas a junkie‘s addiction does.

Bear in mind that addictions come in many different forms – sex and drugs being the obvious vices. But this can also include food, shopping, perhaps even a person!

Would you say there is a difference between an addict and a junkie?

Or is this just the pot calling the kettle black?

If so, how would you delineate the difference?

23 thoughts on “Junkie’s Addiction – semantics

  1. I agree with your assessment. An addict is addicted, but they’re not lying in a gutter using dirty needles, etc. A junkie is. An addict can easily cross that line and become a junkie.

    1. What if it was a different substance, or type of addiction? One without needles, because that’s already sooo dirty and dangerous without with addiction part.
      Also, what would be factors that could prevent or provoke someone to cross (or recede from) that line?

      1. Any substance can make you a junkie. Maybe the distinction is you’re a junkie if strangers can tell you’re an addict just by looking at you.
        The answer to the second question is probably different for everyone.

      2. That’s why I like these questions. We’re all right and wrong at once. But at least we become informed ๐Ÿ˜€
        And very insightful commentary ๐Ÿ‘Œ

  2. I think an addict is someone who has an addiction that can happen taking meds how you are supposed to. Many sleep, anxiety, and other meds will do this in time. You might have some abuse, but not street drugs. When I think of junkie, I think getting drugs off the street, possibly doing criminal acts. I might be wrong though.

    1. Cool cool. I like there’s a distinction between the types of addiction. I also tend to associate junkie with “someone who would do anything ANY-THING” to get the thing they want.
      It’s just made me think of this… perhaps (in the junkie/addict weigh up) it’s not so much how we treat ourselves, but how one treats others… Like… would they steal, or not, from the wallet of a family member? Would they break into a car? What if they work hard as dogs, earn all their own money, and just get absolutely hammered and “destroyed” on the weekend (but all responsibilities are taken care of)?
      Hmm. cool. Thanks for the mental ping.

  3. I think it’s a good definition. People with serious addiction issues still manage to function. “Junkie” is pejorative in a way that “addict” is not and implies a certain collapse of the person’s ability to manage their life.

  4. Agreed with above…a ‘junkie’ to me conjurs the image of a person shooting up in the street, dirty, unkempt. An ‘addict’ can look quite normal during the day, but when it’s time for the next fix, they drop that facade.

  5. The term ‘junkie’ actually comes from the slang word ‘junk’ which is used for Heroin, especially when mainlining it. I guess nowadays it’s a loose term for down-and-out addicts that ‘regular’ folk see when they drive through the darkest corners of their city. For me, junkie is used in the context I explained or someone who’s fallen so deep in their addiction they feel there is no real, tangible way out.
    In the end, it’s still one and the same. It is still just another word (and usually a derogatory one at best) of despair, self-loathing, shame and pure hopelessness.
    Great question by the way! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. horse, smack, dope, H. and other names. It certainly has its roots (junkie, I mean) in heroin, but as language evolves and stuff, so do their meanings. But I totally love your associations for junkie. I get it, it is fraught with negative connotations. I see junkies as intravenous usage, I guess because its so… i dunno, extreme. But that’s just my own naivete i guess? It’s kinda scary to imagine.
      And thanks! Sometimes I wonder if my questions are a bit too… out there, outside of the comfort zone. lol. I asked people a question about owning a terminator or transformer before. lol

  6. The definition takes into account the person has an addiction (thus using the correct word) addict-addiction, body function relies upon, also you get mental addictions, where only the mind think it is in need of (non physical addiction) junkie is a wrong way to address such situation one may find them selfs itโ€™s characterised mostly by the use of society- meaning not of good use, itโ€™s the wrong terminology of the meaning behind any addiction! Being an addict of any sort is an illness not a weakness! My answer- was an addict at the age of 13 on heroin till 17 now Iโ€™m 42 and nearly qualified counsellor for such x

    1. Thanks for sharing your input! These of course are our personal understanding of these words that are subjective observations of a behavioural tendency. Therefore they will be inclined to differ between individuals. By sharing our understanding of what these words/labels mean, I hope to help people see they can change their “labels”, which are mere referential points rather than any fixed definition because we are always changing, growing and evolving. ๐Ÿ˜€
      I see junkie as someone who is really self destructive. But I also see there is a separation between the person, what they do (attitude, behaviour, action), and how they may be perceived. So syntax and tact in ones rhetoric may be advised. Such as distinguishing someone as “a so-and-so” versus being “LIKE a so-and-so”… may seem a small thing, but it all starts with words and… they’ve gotta be read and said aloud in order to spread.

  7. Coming from someone who has been identified as both an addict and junkie in their past, I completely agree with the differentiation between the two. When I was an addict I was completely functional, nobody knew I was doing something so grotesque when I was simply just an addict. But when I started getting bad, I will say I was a junkie. All my money went to feeding my addiction, I stopped taking care of myself (I.E. not showing, not eating, not sleeping), I stopped going to class, I basically stopped functioning as a part of society when I became a junkie.

  8. I believe there is no difference one just sounds better. No one wants to be thought of as a junkie, he brings horrible images to light but doesnโ€™t change the fact your an addict. But I do understand where you are coming from with the difference

  9. I would say there really is no difference. It is semantics as far as I’m concerned. Though both do carry certain connotations and probably those differ from individual to individual.

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