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What Is Psychological Dependence?

woman outside with psychological dependence

When an individual has developed a dependence on a substance, whether alcohol or drugs, different aspects combine to form that dependence: physical and psychological aspects. They are interrelated, making diagnosis and treatment challenging, but a holistic drug addiction treatment program can help.

Psychological dependence involves the mental and emotional processes related to the use of and recovery from substances. If you or a loved one needs help breaking free from substance use, reach out to A Better State at 781.412.1488.

Substance Use and Psychological Dependence

It’s important to note that separating the mind and body is unrealistic to view dependence. All emotions have a physiological basis, and all behaviors that are not reflexes have an emotional component. In other words, the mind influences thoughts and behaviors, and behaviors, in turn, influence the mind.

Symptoms of Psychological Dependence

Most professionals consider psychological dependence to encompass thoughts and emotions related to addiction and withdrawal. These could be relentless thoughts about using a substance or strong cravings for it.

Several symptoms are associated with addiction’s psychological or mental components when it comes to substance use. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Anxiety occurs when a person tries to stop the addictive behavior
  • Depression when they are not using the substance
  • Restlessness and irritability when they have not been used for a while
  • Mood swings
  • Either increased appetite or a loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • A lack of confidence in their ability to get clean or sober
  • Denial that they have a problem
  • Romanticizing their substance use
  • Obsessions over the substance
  • Problems with concentration, memory, judgment, and problem-solving
  • Strong cravings for the substance

Psychological dependence develops through frequent, repetitive use of a substance and is an adaptive state that presents itself when a person stops using or withdraws from the substance of choice.

Substances that create psychological dependence include stimulants, hallucinogens, cannabis products, inhalants, and psychotropic medications, such as antidepressants.

What Is Psychological Dependence?

So what is psychological dependence, and how does it differ from physical dependence? Although these two types of dependence should not be considered the same, they are also not mutually exclusive. Psychological dependence describes the mental symptoms of substance use and withdrawal, and physical dependence describes the body’s reactions to use and withdrawal.

While symptoms will vary from person to person both in degree and frequency, there are several common physical effects. Some symptoms of physical dependence include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Racing pulse
  • Tremors

Substances associated with strong physical dependence include alcohol, opiates, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines.

Treating Psychological Dependence

The treatment and recovery process for patients who have developed a psychological dependence on a substance should be strictly monitored by a psychiatrist, a physician, or professional staff because severe symptoms can be a part of the process.

Long-term treatment for patients should include access to a solid support network and the education and training they need to turn negative, addictive thinking into positive thinking and behaviors.

Various therapy modalities and treatments can be effective, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), group and individual therapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and many others.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based combination therapy that uses prescribed medications and other types of therapy for treatment. Medications are used that have shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with withdrawal from substance use.

Find Treatment for Psychological Dependence at A Better State

With numerous therapies, various treatment programs, and a team of professionals dedicated to helping patients recover from substance use, A Better State can help you or your loved one break free from addiction. Don’t wait another day to take the first step in regaining control of your life; call A Better State now at 781.412.1488.