The term ‘alcohol dependence’ has replaced ‘alcoholism’ as a term in order that individuals do not internalize the idea of cure and disease, but can approach alcohol as a chemical they may depend upon to cope with outside pressures. About 12% of American adults have had an alcohol dependence problem at some time in their life. In the UK the NHS estimates that around 9% of men and 4% of UK women show signs of alcohol dependence. In alcohol dependence, reduction of alcohol, as defined within DSM-IV, can be attained by learning to control the use of alcohol. That is, a client can be offered a social learning approach that helps them to ‘cope’ with external pressures by re-learning their pattern of drinking alcohol.

DrugAbuse.govoffers an insightful explanation based on brain image studies from people addicted to drugs. The study found, physical changes in areas of the brain that are critical for judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavior control in addicted people. Scientists believe that these changes alter the way the brain works and may help explain the compulsive and destructive behaviors of an addicted person. Once a person begins using on a daily or regular basis, the body becomes dependent on that drug. This means the cells can’t function the way they have been without the drug they have become accustomed to. As a result, painful withdrawal symptoms set in, causing most people to reach for the drug to make the pain go away. Aside from the long debated topic about whetheraddiction is a disease or a choice, there are also many people who question whether there is a difference between physical addiction and psychological addiction.

Psychological dependence only

If the person continues the drug use over time, he or she might become dependent on the substance to produce a certain emotional state. This leads to an individual using the drug compulsively to attain certain feelings. An example of this might be someone using alcohol on a daily basis to cope with stressors, or an individual smoking to calm themselves down. 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. For a person who has a substance use disorder, simply quitting alcohol or drugs cold turkey can be nearly impossible.

physiological dependence on alcohol

The staff is amazing and I couldn’t ask for a better place to just be ME.” -Tiffany W. “From the moment you walk through the door you are made to feel like family. The clinicians have a way of making physiological dependence on alcohol you comfortable enough to talk about anything.” -George E. The CAGE questionnaire, the name of which is an acronym of its four questions, is a widely used method of screening for alcoholism.

Why Does Physiological Dependence Develop?

These findings have clear clinical relevance from a treatment perspective. Future studies should focus on elucidating neural mechanisms underlying sensitization of symptoms that contribute to a negative emotional state resulting from repeated withdrawal experience. People with substance use disorders experience both physical and psychological dependencies. During physical dependence, your body becomes dependent on a substance to function.

  • Along with this, you’ll feel strongly compelled to seek out and use your chosen substance.
  • Oftentimes, drug addicts are completely unaware of the devastation they are causing in the lives of those around them, especially within their own families.
  • 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.
  • Taking larger doses of a drug or substance is an effect of psychological dependence, not physical dependence.
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  • When you’re caught in the grip of addiction, it’s a very frightening and confusing place.

And, it’s much easier to treat the physical dependency than to treat the psychological dependency. Understanding the difference between psychological and physical dependence, as well as how they both relate to addiction, can be helpful if you’re concerned with a loved one’s drug or alcohol use. Recognizing that many factors are involved in addictive behavior may help breed compassion as you assist a friend or family member on their road to recovery. Remember that addiction is treatable, and the more you understand the disease, the more you may be able to support a loved one as they go through treatment. 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.

What is Psychological Dependence?

Psychological dependence traditionally refers to the behavioral decisions, emotional triggers, and other feelings and mental health factors which fuel addiction or result from it. Depression, anxiety, or risk-taking behaviors might be part of this category. However, this condition does not generally occur with withdrawal from opiate drugs, which are also considered to be extremely physically addicting. Physiological dependence is when your body becomes used to a substance and has trouble functioning without it. If you’re struggling to quit, reach out for help from a medical professional or an addiction treatment program. That is why it is important to get help from a medical professional when quitting. Laura comes to NJRC with 23 years of vast clinical experience in hospital, residential, outpatient, and community outreach settings where she has worked, supervised clinical teams, and volunteered.

  • You’ll have medical staff available to you at all times to can help minimize your symptoms.
  • Considering that half of the people with a substance use disorder suffer from a mental illness, it’s likely symptoms of psychological dependence will emerge over time.
  • Psychological addiction can challenge your sobriety during PAWS.
  • Both alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse are sometimes referred to by the less specific term alcoholism.

We provide clients with the tools they need to attain sobriety and enjoy long-lasting wellness free from drugs and alcohol, as well as offer aftercare treatment planning and long-term peer support in the form of alumni activities. Many drugs of abuse are described as producing both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation and fostering both forms of dependence. Also, the alternative viewpoint that “addiction is a choice” is also incorrect because people with substance use disorders are motivated by many physical processes that affect their behavior in a number of ways. Numerous drugs of abuse are described as having both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms and fostering both forms of dependence. Relapse represents a major challenge to treatment efforts for people suffering from alcohol dependence. To date, no therapeutic interventions can fully prevent relapse, sustain abstinence, or temper the amount of drinking when a “slip” occurs.

Psychological Dependence Versus Physical Dependence Versus Addiction

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. This is why a professional and intensive rehab program with good aftercare is necessary for your success in beating your habit. The CDC reports that more than two million Americans were dependent on prescription opiates in 2014. The United Nations recently released the World Drug Report 2016, which indicated that there are more than 29 million people worldwide who suffer from a serious drug use disorder. So, know that if you are struggling with an opiates addiction or other substance abuse disorder, know that you are not alone. That said, sometimes you can have symptoms of addiction that are mostly psychological.

Psychological drug dependence is when a person is dependent on a substance. Some substances are more addictive and more likely to cause psychological dependence than other drugs. Drugs that have an increase in certain chemicals that trigger euphoric feelings are the substances that cause psychological drug dependence that leads to addiction. Drugs, either prescribed or illegal, are often used as a coping mechanism. People can become dependent on substances as a coping mechanism for negative emotions.

The Emotional Symptoms of Psychological Dependence

If you, or someone close to you, can identify with any of these many signs and symptoms of addiction, it’s time to get help. When you’re in residential rehab, you’ll be moving towards a clean and productive life. Surrounding you will be reliable, well-educated and professional people you can rely upon for help 24/7. Counseling and behavioral therapy are very important aspects of your treatment.

  • If you are experiencing a psychological addiction and attempt to quit using your drug of choice, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms as your body tries to compensate for the lack of chemicals in its system.
  • It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
  • We create personalized plans for each individual who enters our facility to give them the tools for long-lasting recovery.
  • Miller NS, Gold MS. Dissociation of “conscious desire” from and relapse in alcohol and cocaine dependence.
  • When you’re in residential rehab, you’ll be moving towards a clean and productive life.