Differences Between Physical And Psychological Addiction

The mission of Footprints to Recovery is to provide the education, tools, and support for individuals, families, and the community to find the reason to achieve lasting recovery and a life lived to the fullest potential. It is true that your brain and your body will react very differently to stimulants, such as meth and cocaine than it will to depressants like heroin and alcohol. The restlessness that occurs when someone is not using substances. Delirium Tremens in withdrawal from alcohol, which can be life-threatening. In which the drug is used to obtain relief from tension or emotional discomfort; called also emotional dependence. The sooner you recognize there may be a problem and talk to your healthcare provider, the better your recovery chances. Having repeated problems with work, school, relationships or the law because of drinking.

If you are having trouble seeing or completing this challenge, this page may help. If you continue to experience issues, you can contact JSTOR support. In therapy, you’ll typically explore patterns that trigger your use and work to create new patterns of thought and behavior. You feel a sudden onset of panic because you’re about to give a huge presentation. You’re gripped with fear that you’ll fumble your words or screw up the slides because you didn’t get your caffeine boost. When the alcohol is fully eliminated from the system, those neurotransmitters become hyper-reactive, resulting in restlessness, anxiety, and nervousness.

  • After long-term substance use, the brain gets used to having these chemicals boost dopamine levels.
  • At the end of detox, you enjoy being clean and sober for the first time since your addiction set in.
  • Awareness of the negative consequences stemming from your substance abuse do not deter you from using.
  • Behavioral therapy is needed to address psychological dependence.

During early substance abuse, before physical addiction develops, the body has not adapted and the “hangover” is at its height. Stopping the substance is a relief to the system, and the body quickly returns to normal. Direct2Recovery specializes in management and treatment options for substance use disorder; alcohol, opiates, heroin and other harmful substances. See the website for more information about dependency subjects and treatment options. Firstly, physiological dependence does not necessarily mean you or a loved one has a substance use disorder.

Physical dependence alone, meaning the development of a withdrawal syndrome upon abrupt discontinuation of the drug, is not evidence of addiction. In some cancer patients drug-seeking behaviour is seen because of unrelieved pain and not psychological dependence. This can be the result of prn prescription of opioids rather than regular administration of adequate analgesia. This behaviour usually responds to escalation of the opioid dose, resulting in adequate analgesia. Improved assessment and rational pain management should help to eliminate this problem.

Substance Dependence And Abuse

Further, the amount of work mice (Lopez et al. 2008) and rats (Brown et al. 1998) were willing to expend in order to receive alcohol reinforcement was significantly increased following repeated withdrawal https://ecosoberhouse.com/ experience. This suggests that the reinforcing value of alcohol may be enhanced as a result of experiencing repeated opportunities to respond for access to alcohol in the context of withdrawal.

The physical and mental aspects of any substance disorder are complicated and unique to the individual suffering. The differences between physical and psychological dependency vary but have some similarities.

Depression, feelings of hopelessness, and lack of interest in regular activities. As a member, you’ll also get unlimited access to over 84,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. Natalie has taught a variety of subject areas for over eight years. They have a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities and Emotional Impairments from Western Michigan University.

Studying Alcohol Relapse Behavior

If you suffer only a psychological dependence, you still possibly need some time in medical detox. This time helps ensure your body safely cleans itself of the toxins related to your substance abuse. Although your stay proves less physically intense than for physical addiction, detox treatment keeps you safe and comfortable. In treatment, you need an array of therapies designed to suit your individual needs. Among other factors, your physical vs psychological dependence plays a role in your treatment plan. But through detox, rehab, and therapies like psychodynamic therapy for substance dependency, you can end your addiction and start a new life. A wide range of drugs whilst not causing a true physical dependence can still cause withdrawal symptoms or rebound effects during dosage reduction or especially abrupt or rapid withdrawal.

  • As a member, you’ll also get unlimited access to over 84,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.
  • When this happens, every time you drink, you’ll need more alcohol to achieve the effect you want.
  • When being asked, the difference between physical dependence versus psychological dependence, trembling might come up as a symptom of physical dependence.
  • Surrounding you will be reliable, well-educated and professional people you can rely upon for help 24/7.
  • Let’s take a deeper look into the differences between physical and psychological dependence.
  • With most drugs and with alcohol, dopamine levels in the brain are changed.

We are experts at addressing both the physical and psychological parts of addiction and will work with you in your journey towards a clean and sober life. As your body gets used to whichever substances you’re taking, you’ll need more and more drugs to achieve the same effect.

Prompts About Psychological Dependence:

These can include caffeine, stimulants, steroidal drugs and antiparkinsonian drugs. It is debated whether the entire antipsychotic drug class causes true physical dependency, a subset, or if none do. But, if discontinued too rapidly, it could cause an acute withdrawal syndrome. When talking about illicit drugs rebound withdrawal, especially with stimulants, it is sometimes referred to as “coming down” or “crashing”. Psychological dependence, on the other hand, is treated using behavioral therapies, holistic therapies, and support groups. The goal of these treatments is to help patients identify harmful thoughts or behaviors and replace them with healthier coping mechanisms. These therapies may be held on an individual or group basis but should be individualized to meet each patient’s unique needs.

For example, they feel a constant need to drink alcohol, even if they know it will lead to negative consequences. Changes in the brain can affect your mood, memory, thinking, and behavior, as well as the way your organs function. For those two million who are abusing opioids, or 29 million people with a substance abuse disorder to successfully get through rehab, they must have professional and ongoing support and give the program their complete commitment. Substance abuse is complex by nature and physical and psychological addiction can often overlap, so you may not know one from the other.

Thus, the major difference between psychological dependence and physical dependence is that psychological dependence refers to changes in mood and craving, while physical dependence refers to physical symptoms in the body. An individual’s past experiences, past and current environment, personality factors, and DNA are risk factors for psychological dependence.

Finally, a history of multiple withdrawal experiences can exacerbate cognitive deficits and disruption of sleep during withdrawal (Borlikova et al. 2006; Stephens et al. 2005; Veatch 2006). The term psychological dependence is typically used to describe the emotional and mental processes that are related to the development of a substance use disorder or process addiction. Physical and psychological dependence on a drug is different, although many with addictions to drugs or alcohol have both. Being physically dependent on a substance means a person’s brain and body have come to rely on the drug, and that a person will experience physical withdrawals when cutting back or stopping. Certain drugs are known to be more physically addictive than others, making it more likely that a person will develop a physical dependence (i.e. heroin, cocaine, or meth vs marijuana or alcohol). A person can have a psychological dependence on a drug or certain behaviors or activities. Psychological dependence is not always caused by drugs or alcohol.

Physical And Psychological Dependence

Sent back out into the world, they lack the foundation in sobriety necessary to sustain long … Considered by some people to be a taboo subject, there is a far greater understanding of addiction among both laymen and professionals nowadays.

physiological dependence on alcohol

Physical addiction manifests itself in a physical way affecting the body. Physical addiction dependency is chemical level changes in the brain that are changed by the addictive chemicals in the drugs. In order for addiction treatment to be effective, patients must receive treatment for their physical and psychological symptoms. By attending a residential rehab program, you will be able to confront your addiction, learn how to manage your symptoms, and gain life-long support that will be there for you throughout your sobriety. By targeting both the physical and psychological symptoms of a substance use disorder, patients can safely and effectively be treated. Let’s take a deeper look into the differences between physical and psychological dependence.

Putting Substance Abuse And Its Effects Behind You

Becker HC, Lopez MF. Increased ethanol drinking after repeated chronic ethanol exposure and withdrawal experience in C57BL/6 mice. Psychological addiction can challenge your sobriety during PAWS. The pull to self-medicate these uncomfortable feelings with drugs or alcohol can be strong, putting you at high risk of relapse. Medical supervision during the process keeps you healthy and comfortable.

For instance, an opioid addiction may begin as a pursuit to get pleasurable feelings that come with the flood of dopamine initiated by the drug. With continued abuse, opioids start depleting your brain’s natural supply of dopamine. Long-term drug or alcohol abuse leads to changes in the brain’s structure and function.


Your treatment setting will depend on your stage of recovery and the severity of your illness. You may need inpatient medical , residential rehabilitation , outpatient intensive therapy or outpatient maintenance. It’s a disease of brain function and requires medical and psychological treatments to control it. Psychological dependence involves feelings of satisfaction and a desire to repeat the use of the drug in order to produce pleasure or avoid pain. Refusing to believe there is an addiction problem is another social addict symptom.

In the past, drug or alcohol dependence was diagnosed as the most severe form of addiction, but this classification was done away with in 2013. Today, addiction and dependence are used interchangeably, and both refer to an unhealthy and problematic pattern of substance use.

This physical need for your drug happens over a period of time. Your body changed its ways and means to work with the drug you kept abusing. Over time, a person won’t be able to function without using the substance. If they stop using the substance, their body will go through withdrawal.

Get Help For Addiction

Psychological dependence is a term that describes the emotional or mental components of substance use disorder, such as strong cravings for the substance or behavior and difficulty thinking about anything else. Some drugs, like anticonvulsants and antidepressants, describe the drug category and not the mechanism. Anticonvulsants as a group however are known to cause tolerance to the anti-seizure effect. SSRI drugs, which have an important use as antidepressants, engender a discontinuation syndrome that manifests with physical side effects; e.g., there have been case reports of a discontinuation syndrome with venlafaxine .

Opioid Receptor Agonists

You may have some underlying issues that prompted you to first use drugs or alcohol. It can help you address and manage recovery as you discover different ways to handle challenging emotions, stress, or social events that may act as a trigger to begin using drugs or alcohol. You learn to become aware of these moments and how to change negative feelings, thoughts, or behaviors that haven’t served you well physiological dependence on alcohol in the past. Sana Lake Recovery Center is a Joint Commission Accredited addiction treatment program. We offer a safe and trustworthy facility for people struggling with substance abuse. This seal indicates our commitment to continually elevating our standards and providing a superior treatment for substance abuse. Sana Lake Recovery Centeris a Joint Commission Accredited addiction treatment program.

Getting help for physical and mental dependence on drugs comes from the same place. A residential detox center in Houston, TX, gives you the comfort, support, safety, and therapy you need for a fresh start in sobriety. In a licensed detox center, caring professionals watch your health and relieve your worst symptoms, making ending your addiction easier. It is important to understand the difference between the two types of dependence in order to get the right treatment when the time comes. If a loved one is struggling with a substance abuse problem, learning more about addiction can help save their lives.

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