Physical vs Psychological Dependence: Do You Understand the Difference?

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The idea of going through withdrawal and quitting may fill you with feelings of dread. You may develop hostility toward others physiological dependence on alcohol who suggest you have a substance abuse problem. Do your hands shake when you don’t take a drink in a certain number of hours?

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Cravings are a key factor in psychological addictions, so it’s important for you to understand what they are. A craving is an intense desire for something and is one of the hallmarks of psychological dependence. If you’re psychologically addicted, you have an emotional or mental attachment to a substance.

Addiction vs Dependence

In some cases, the risk factors for development of psychological dependence are related to the specific substance or behavior that one becomes dependent on. However, research looking at addiction has found some general factors that might lead to a higher risk for dependence and addiction.

psychological dependence on alcohol

The specific mechanism involves a neuronal counter-adaption, which could be mediated through changes in neurotransmittor activity or altered receptor expression. Environmental enrichment and physical activity can attenuate withdrawal symptoms. Psychological dependence is not to be confused with physical dependence, which induces physical withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation of use. When you’re experiencing psychological addiction, your thoughts may be consumed with when you’ll use drugs or alcohol again, or how you’ll get more of the substance you’re abusing.

Psychological Addiction Explained

When the individual is not using the drug, they have obsessive thoughts about using the drug again, cravings for the drug, irritability, and high levels of motivation to seek out the drug again. Significant advancements have been made in understanding the neurobiological underpinnings and environmental factors that influence motivation to drink as well as the consequences of excessive alcohol use. From there, they move into addressing the underlying causes of their substance use, which is the psychological side of addiction. Without detox in a supervised environment, there are serious risks, including death.

Talking about substance use disorder can be tricky, and not just because it’s a sensitive topic. There are a lot of terms involved that, while related, mean different things.

Psychological Dependence Definition

The difference between addiction and dependence can be difficult to understand. Some organizations have different definitions, use the words interchangeably or even abandon both terms altogether. (Substance use disorder, or SUD, is a preferred term in the scientific community.) Because of this lack of consistency, some ground rules can help differentiate between the two terms. All too often, addicts are recycled through drug rehab treatment facilities across the country, where they are given the basics of recovery, but little else. 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.

  • This then plays a role in reinforcing your future usage habits.
  • Although addiction treatment can be a difficult process, it’s not the nightmarish situation TV makes it out to be.
  • If it turns out that our program is not the right fit for you, we will do whatever we can to help you find a program that meets your needs.
  • Sinclair JD. Alcohol-deprivation effect in rats genetically selected for their ethanol preference.
  • Sensitization resulting from repeated withdrawal cycles and leading to both more severe and more persistent symptoms therefore may constitute a significant motivational factor that underlies increased risk for relapse .
  • It manifests as physical withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, nausea, vomiting, delirium, and even seizures when alcohol is stopped abruptly.

For some people, psychological withdrawal is also a problem, and they begin to experience very strong alcohol cravings. As your body gets used to whichever substances you’re taking, you’ll need more and more drugs to achieve the same effect. This then begins to have a greater impact on your body chemistry and brain function. If, after this, you try to quit drugs, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, and should seek help from an experienced rehab center to get you through detoxification safely. The difference between physical and psychological addiction is not as defined as you might think. As people’s psychological and physical reactions aren’t universal across all types of drugs, it’s hard to put all the different signs and symptoms of addiction into two completely distinct categories.

Distinction between psychological and physical dependence

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional. Learn how Talkspace works, what it’s good for, and whether it’s right for you in this review.

psychological dependence on alcohol

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