The Difference Between Physical and Psychological Addiction – And Why It Matters

Addiction is a complicated thing, involving many components of both the body and mind. Before addiction can be overcome, it is important to determine what kind of addiction it is – physical, psychological, or both.

What Is Physical Addiction?

A person may be physically addicted to alcohol, illicit drugs, or even prescription drugs. Physical addiction occurs when there are physical changes in the body after frequent substance use, and the person feels a physical need to use a substance to avoid withdrawal symptoms, which can include nausea, insomnia, and vomiting.

Physical addiction starts in the brain. Long-term use of alcohol or drugs can change the brain’s reward circuits and make it difficult for a person to find pleasure without the drug. However, genetics can also play a role in how susceptible a person is to becoming addicted.

Treatment for physical addiction might be a combination of medication along with therapy.

What Is Psychological Addiction?

Psychological addiction often goes along with a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, and it is marked by an obsessive need to perform the negative behavior (such as drinking, using drugs, or gambling), to the detriment of one’s life, relationships, and career. A person might be at increased risk for psychological addiction because of a stressful life event.

Treatment for psychological addiction might include cognitive behavioral therapy to help the person develop more constructive and positive coping strategies and to deal with underlying conditions. However, medication may be prescribed as well.

Why Does It Matter?

As with any problem, it is important to know exactly what the cause is so that the right solutions can be found and effective treatments can start. Physical and psychological addiction may be treated differently – or a person may have both types of addiction, and so both conditions have to be treated together for a successful and lasting recovery.

There are so many elements that contribute to why a person is addicted, and this is why dealing with addiction is so complicated. But you don’t have to figure it out all alone – contact Wasatch Crest in Heber, Utah, for help. Call (800) 385-3507 today.

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