Psychological Dependence vs Physical Dependence

Many people believe overcoming the physical dependence on drugs or alcohol is the most difficult part of recovery, but the psychological dependence can be much worse. Sadly, many people can’t deal with physical withdrawal symptoms, so they relapse. Addressing the physical dependence on drugs or alcohol is the priority, which takes place through a medical detox process.

Dealing with the Physical Dependence

Physical dependence occurs because long-term substance abuse drastically changes how the body functions. The body gets to a point where it needs drugs or alcohol to function normally. This is often a difficult situation because a person may want to quit but only feels well with substances. Medical detox helps to decrease the physical symptoms of withdrawal, which can include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Body tremors
  • Cold sweats

Not all substances cause physical withdrawal symptoms, but many of the most abused substances do. The main substances that result in physical withdrawal include alcohol, opiates, prescription opioids, and benzodiazepines. Along with physical dependence, individuals with addictions also have to battle psychological dependence. There are some psychological symptoms of withdrawal that come with getting sober, some of which last for a while.

The Initial Symptoms of Psychological Withdrawal

There’s a reason that medical professionals refer to drugs as “mind-altering.” They change the brain’s chemistry. Sometimes the symptoms of withdrawal can cause mental illness symptoms as well, so psychotherapy is necessary. It’s important to go through an evaluation before and after detox to check for any mental disorders. Sometimes the symptoms of mental illness go away rather quickly once a person goes through detox.

The Psychological Dependence

If all it took was going to detox to get and remain sober, many people would be sober by now. The reality is that that brain’s dependence on the drugs or alcohol is difficult to deal with. The brain creates habits based on what brings a person pleasure, which can include eating, drinking or substance use. The more a person does this behavior, the stronger that habit becomes and it turns into a compulsion.

Over time, the brain forms habits of drinking or using drugs for a wide range of situations, as well as sensory reasons. Cravings often happen when a person experiences different emotions or memories, and addiction treatment therapy helps with this. The issue many people deal with after treatment is that sights, sounds, and smells become triggers. Without knowing how to deal with all of these triggers through addiction treatment programs, a person has difficulty recovering.

Silver Pines Treatment Center Can Help

Our facility offers clients detox services as well as residential treatment to help them recover from addiction. We have a medical detox process that will not only help you through withdrawal, but it will help with cravings too. When you discharge, we can also provide you with addiction medications to help prevent relapse. Give us a call today at 866-345-2147 to find out more about how we can help.