What is Psychological Dependence?

woman curls up with a pillow on couch while wondering what is psychological dependence

When people talk about addiction, it’s actually a double-edged sword. However, most don’t realize that it involves physiological and psychological dependence. That said, many associate only the physical symptoms with dependency. Here’s what’s really going on.

What You Need to Know about Physical Addiction

The addiction therapy services in Jacksonville, FL acknowledge that physical dependency’s real. It refers to your body’s urge to receive the drug or alcohol. The body needs the drug to function. While this isn’t true in the rational sense, it’s right at the moment.

For example, someone with a heroin addiction receives signals from the body when the last dose wears off. That’s because the drug succeeds in suppressing the central nervous system. Therefore, the brain works overtime to keep this individual going. When you withhold the drug, the body signals the awakening of the nervous system with pain.

Next, there’s the lack of dopamine release. Drugs have the power to make structural changes to the brain. They affect the way it releases neurotransmitters. It’s possible to retrain the brain to regain equilibrium.

Psychological Dependence is the Other Side of Addiction

In addition to the physical aspect, there’s also psychological dependence. It refers to the mind’s belief that the individual can’t function without the drug. There’s a strong emotional tie to the substance that fails logical intervention. For example, someone believes that only alcohol can help them interact with members of the opposite sex.

Someone else may believe that the use of smart drugs is necessary to get ahead at work. These people don’t think they can quit using it for this reason. Besides that, there’s the desire for the substance because of the perks it provides. The case in point is marijuana.

It lulls people into believing that they don’t have an addiction. That’s because it doesn’t cause the same painful withdrawal symptoms as heroin. However, it lures the individual into a psychological dependence. Someone might argue that weed helps them relax, overcome anxiety, or deal with depression.

The Kernel of Truth in Psychological Dependence

At the root of most drug habits is a self-medicating behavior. The drug scratches an itch that someone experiences. It might be the individual with depression who smokes weed to help feel better. It’s the person with PTSD who abuses alcohol to numb themselves.

Therefore, it’s essential to treat addiction with evidence-based treatments. It’s not enough to tell someone that they don’t need the drug. Rather, you have to show them. The best way of doing so is by teaching life, social, and coping skills.

These approaches are part of an evidence-based treatment curriculum. Customization is the best approach. Therapists must gauge the level of psychological addiction to determine the best therapies. In fact, personalization of care starts at the delivery level.

Options might include:

If you or a loved one struggles with psychological dependence, entrust Lakeview Health with your care. Call 866.704.7692 today.