What is the difference between physical and psychological addiction?


With a growing epidemic of alcohol and drug abuse, lots of people are frantically looking for responses. They want to know why people end up being addicted and exactly what triggers their addiction.

Psychology plays a big role. It’s a science dedicated to understanding human habits. Psychologists are worried about enhancing the quality of individual’s lives and their life fulfillment. Psychologists think about behavior that promotes an individual’s wellness and life satisfaction adaptive behavior. Maladaptive behavior is a term used and is a behavior that serves to restrict a person’s function and lessens life’s satisfaction. Considering that addiction is a negative, maladaptive habit, psychological designs are extremely helpful for understanding why individuals engage in this unhealthy behavior.

Psychologists propose numerous possible reasons for addiction. Initially, individuals might participate in harmful behavior due to the fact that the problem, or “psychopathology” that manifests itself as a mental disorder. Second, individuals might find unhealthy behavior in response to their environment. Third, people’s ideas and beliefs produce their sensations. This in turn identifies their behavior, to the extent that someone’s ideas and beliefs are unrealistic or inefficient and their habits will be impacted.

Many of these theories have not been checked or linked to every particular kind of addiction. However, researchers and specialists usually presume these theories and use them in some connection to most dependencies. As research study in this area continues, we might discover some theories are more suitable to specific types of addiction.

Aside from the debated topic about whether addiction is a disease or choice, there are lots of people who question whether there is a difference between physical dependence and psychological addiction. Typically, people think about these as totally different processes, however they are in fact concurrent.

 Physical dependence

What is physical addiction to drugs? When majority of people think about physical addiction to drugs, they are typically associating it to the idea of the physical withdrawal signs that happen when somebody stops giving their body the alcohol or drug that they have been using repeatedly.

Signs of physical dependence:

– Withdrawal signs when trying to stop

– Increased tolerance to addictive substances

– Compulsive desire to use addictive substances

– Lying to others about addictive behavior

– Displaying addictive behavior and trying to do it discreetly

– State of mind changes

– Weight change

– Using addiction to forget issues

– Social withdrawal

– Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities

– Stealing to support addiction

– Spending money excessively to support addiction

– Stress and anxiety

– Anger

– Depression

– Changed sleeping patterns

– Changed eating habits

When your body cannot function without a drug, you are physically dependent on it. When the body begins to gradually diminish the drug, unpleasant withdrawal signs can start. Now, the quickest method to relieve the discomfort is to take more drugs. Majority of those who try to stop “cold turkey” are not able to do so. As an outcome, uncomfortable withdrawal signs set in, basically forcing people to take the drug in order to make their discomfort disappear.

Withdrawal signs can consist of:

– Nausea.

– Diarrhea.

– Body pains.

– The chills or shakes.

– Delirium Tremens (DTS).

 Psychological dependence

What is the psychology of addiction? The mental side of addiction represents the obsession of the mind to consume or use based on a perceived need drug or alcohol fills. This element of addiction can take place even if the individual does not show physical dependency signs.

A mental, or psychological addiction, is specified as an obsession or viewed as having to use. For instance, somebody addicted to marijuana may believe they need to have the drug in order to go to sleep quickly and quietly. Nevertheless, they will ultimately go to sleep without the drug, and they’ll do so without ever experiencing the physical results.

In extreme cases of psychological addiction, these ideas end up being crucial. Without help, a psychological dependency can turn a drug of choice into their main focus of life.

Drugs that could cause psychological dependency might be:

– Opiates and other narcotics that are effective pain relievers and cause drowsiness as well as extreme sensations of wellness, pleasure, and happiness. These types are heroin, opium, codeine, and narcotic pain medications that might be recommended by a medical professional or purchased illegally.

– Stimulants, which are drugs that stimulate the brain and nerve system. They consist of drug and amphetamines, such as substance abuse to deal with ADHD (methylphenidate, or Ritalin). An individual can begin needing greater doses of these drugs with overtime to feel the very same effect.

– Depressants trigger sleepiness and minimize stress and anxiety. They consist of alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Xanax), chloral hydrate, and paraldehyde. Using these drugs can cause addiction.

– LSD, mescaline, psilocybin (“mushrooms”), and phencyclidine (PCP, or “angel dust”) can trigger an individual to see things that are not there (hallucinations) and can result in psychological addiction.

– Marijuana (marijuana, or hashish).

There are a number of stages in substance abuse that might cause addiction. Youths appear to move faster through the phases than grownups do.

Phases are:

– Experimental usage. Normally includes peers, done for recreational use.

– Regular usage. The user might miss school or work repeatedly; using drugs to “repair” current situations; start to distant themselves from loved ones; may begin to choose the drug over friends/family; show increased tolerance and capability to “handle” the drug.

– Problem or dangerous usage. The user loses hope; does not appreciate school and work; has apparent behavior change; the substance abuse is more crucial than all other interests, consisting of relationships; the user ends up being secretive; may start dealing drugs to support their addiction; usage of other, harder drugs might increase; legal issues might increase.

– Addiction. Cannot deal with life without drugs; rejects issue; physical condition worsens; loss of “control” over use; might end up being self-destructive; financial and legal issues become worse; might have broken ties with member of the family or good friends.

What are some warnings that somebody has a drug problem?

A lot of drug addictions begin with experimental usage of a drug in social circumstances. For some people, the substance abuse ends up being more regular. The danger of addiction and how quickly you end up being dependent differs by drug. Some drugs have a greater danger and trigger dependence faster than others.

As time passes, you might require larger dosages of the drug to obtain the “high” you once felt. Quickly, you may rely on the drug to feel great again. As your substance abuse increases, you might discover that it’s significantly challenging to go without the drug. Efforts to stop substance abuse might trigger extreme cravings and make you feel physically ill, which are withdrawal signs.

Signs of physical dependence:

– Feeling the need to use the drug routinely. This can be everyday or perhaps numerous times throughout the day

– Having extreme urges for the drug

– Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect

– Making sure you maintain a supply of the drug

– Spending money on the drug, even though you don’t have the funds available

– Not fulfilling responsibilities and work obligations, or cutting down on social or leisure activities due to substance abuse

– Doing things to get the drug that you generally would not do, such as stealing

– Driving or doing other dangerous activities when you’re under the influence of the drug

– Focusing and spending more energy and time on getting and using the drug

– Failing in attempt to stop using the drug

– Experiencing withdrawal signs when you try to stop taking the drug

 Recognizing drug abuse in family members

It’s often challenging to identify typical teenage moodiness from signs of substance abuse. Possible signs that your teen or other family member is using drugs consist of:

– Problems at school or work- regularly missing out on school or work, an unexpected disinterest in school activities or work, or a drop in grades or work efficiency

– Physical health concerns- absence of energy and motivation

– Neglected appearance- lacking interest in clothes, and self-appearance

– Changes in habits- Protected of his/her space or being sneaky about where she or he goes with friends; or extreme changes in behavior and in relationships with friends and family

– Spending money- asking for cash without an explanation; or discovering that items or money is missing or stolen from your house, possibly indicating that it was stolen to support substance abuse

How addiction affects the brain

 Research studies have discovered, physical changes in areas of the brain that are important for judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavior control in addicts. Researchers think that these changes modify the way the brain works and might alter the compulsive and devastating behavior of an addicted individual.

In this case, addiction is shown as both a psychological, or mental, and chemical, or physical, impact in the brain, which shows proof that addiction is both mental and physical.

Not to mention, dependencies are formed because they affect the part of the brain that manages pleasant sensations. Which are those developing a strong desire to recreate the satisfying feelings related to drugs. Each drug impacts dopamine levels in the brain, building the reward center, or need to keep suppling it with the drug.

This can even hold true for food. When somebody consumes a piece of chocolate, the brain can discover that it is pleasant and it promotes the reward center in the brain. Due to this, an individual is far more likely to engage and eat chocolate frequently in the future. The exact same holds true for drugs, which is how dependencies are formed.

Get help now! Do not wait till it’s far too late

Drug use is a major condition and hard to deal with. The best care and treatment includes experienced specialists.

Treatment starts with acknowledging the issue. Though rejection is a typical sign of addiction, individuals who are addicted have far less rejection if they are treated with compassion and respect, instead of being told exactly what to do or being challenged.

The drug may be gradually withdrawn or stopped quickly. Assistance for physical and psychological signs, along with remaining drug free (abstaining) are crucial to treatment.

– People that overdose may require emergency help in the healthcare facility. The precise treatment depends upon the substance abuse.

– Detoxification (detox) is the withdrawal of the drug in a safe environment where there is assistance. Detoxing can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

– At times, other drugs with a similar action or result on the body is taken, as the dosage is gradually reduced to lower the negative effects and dangers of withdrawal. For example, with opiate addiction, drugs such as methadone or suboxone may be used to avoid withdrawal and continued usage.

Residential treatment programs keep track of and resolve possible withdrawal signs and habits. These programs use strategies to obtain users to acknowledge their behavior and prevent using causing relapse.

If the individual has anxiety or another psychological health conditions, it must be dealt with. Oftentimes, an individual begins using drugs to attempt to self-treat mental illness.


Drug education programs can be useful. Parents and family members can have a strong impact on their children by teaching them about the damages of using drugs.


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