Aside from the long debated topic about whether addiction is a disease or a choice, there are also many people who question whether there is a difference between physical addiction and psychological addiction. Often people think of these as completely separate processes, but they are actually simultaneous. Treatment for psychological withdrawal may include a combination of therapy and medications. In some cases, medications are necessary to address underlying mental health problems. The difference between psychological addiction and psychological dependence is in the severity of the use of a substance or drug.
The differences between the two can be hard to distinguish, but one does not mean the other. Psychologically addictive drugs include stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, methamphetamines, amphetamines, cocaine, and hallucinogens such as LSD. In addition, mood-changing drugs such as marijuana and prescription drugs for pain and antidepressants can be psychologically addictive. Chronic use of flurazepam is often followed by tolerance and decrease in effectiveness. The most common side effects of flurazepam are dose related and include daytime drowsiness, lethargy, and dizziness.
Key Facts on Psychological Dependence
Once the substances are out of the body, and the body begins to heal, the person may continue to suffer from the psychological consequences. Finding the right treatment facility and support system can make enduring the symptoms of withdrawal more manageable. For some, these first steps are the hardest parts of the recovery journey and require a full team of support while the brain and body heal.
People with substance use disorders experience both physical and psychological dependencies. During physical dependence, your body becomes dependent on a substance to function. 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. As you have just learned, psychological dependence develops over time as a result of changes in the way the brain communicates and responds.
What is the difference between psychological addiction and psychological dependence?
For example, the symptoms of a hangover – a headache, dehydration, stomach ache – are physical changes that occur after the use of alcohol. If alcohol use continues over time, an individual might become dependent on alcohol to make those physical changes go away. When discussing substance abuse and addiction there is a lot of lingo that gets thrown around. Many terms are used interchangeably but they are not always used in the correct context. A paper from the American Journal of Psychiatry confirms that behavioral therapies for drug abuse are effective. The length of psychological addiction treatment depends on several factors such as the addictive agent, severity of addiction, whether a patient has other addictions, and mental health problems.
Symptoms of psychological dependence are viewed as more variable because people are all different, and brain chemistry can vary. Intensity levels are also different and may be influenced by lifestyle and environmental variables. There is no objective way to measure distress, but a person knows when they experience the symptoms (or loved ones can see it for themselves). Acknowledging the pain and finding the professional help to alleviate it and begin the appropriate therapies are essential first steps in recovery.
A psychological dependence affects the mind negatively in terms of mood, feelings, and thoughts. They’re arguably more difficult to pin down and treat because of this. A doctor can tell when a person has tremors or is sweating excessively. It’s less likely they can tell if a person suffering from a substance use disorder feels sad every single day. People can see when a person with an alcohol use disorder is suffering from tremors without them saying anything. While others can’t observe it per se, a person suffering from it can feel the sensation.
Negative feelings occur when the brain is no longer receiving the drugs. Psychological addiction is a brain disorder that causes a person to use the substance despite negative outcomes. Physical dependence happens when a person’s body is dependent on a substance. When a person does not drink alcohol, they are faced with physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, nausea, and shaking. The negative physical symptoms cause a person to drink again to feel better.
When it comes to addiction, psychological and physical dependence are two terms that are often used interchangeably. In group therapy and individual therapy, you’ll learn how your thoughts and behaviors are linked. You’ll practice ways of changing maladaptive thought patterns and ways of relating to others. The pull to self-medicate these uncomfortable feelings with drugs or alcohol can be strong, putting you at high risk of relapse. These associations are so strong they can activate your brain’s reward system in the same way it would react to the substance of your choice being in front of you.
It helps patients recognize that thoughts and feelings ultimately turn into negative behaviors. However, the difference is an emphasis on validation psychological dependence on alcohol and accepting that these thoughts and feelings happen. A patient’s appearance can indicate this; they might look disheveled and smell.