As people spend more time abusing drugs and alcohol, their bodies become used to the substances. They grow dependent on them, and this dependence can be both physical and mental. Without treatment, many people get to a point where they can’t function without using. What is psychological dependence and how does it tie into addiction?
Dependence: Physical vs. Psychological
Physical dependence is often considered to be addiction. A person has to have drugs or alcohol to function. When she doesn’t have access to addictive substances, she feels physical withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches or nausea.
Psychological dependence is an emotional compulsion to use, despite risks and negative consequences. Basically, a person feels she has to abuse a substance to sleep, work, or concentrate. While she can actually function without drugs and alcohol, thoughts of her substances of choice consume her.
It’s possible for someone to be psychologically dependent without being physically dependent.
Signs of Psychological Dependence
How do you know you’re psychologically dependent on drugs or alcohol? Common signs to look out for include:
- Anxiety when you’re not using
- Constant preoccupation with drugs and alcohol
- Irritability when you’re not using
- Changes in sleep pattern due to using
- Feelings of depression when you can’t use
Some drugs are more likely to cause psychological dependence, such as marijuana, LSD, and cocaine. This is in comparison to alcohol and heroin, which tend to trigger an intense physical dependence.
How Rehab Treats Dependence
Rehab treats both kinds of drug and alcohol dependency issues. While your body can detox relatively quickly, your emotional ties to using can last much longer. It’s not unusual to feel cravings weeks or months after getting clean.
Mental triggers can include just about anything that reminds a person of using. It could be driving past a favorite bar or running into an old acquaintance. It could also be something as minor as lighting a match.
This is why rehab is so important. Those struggling with addiction have to cope with the emotional effects of getting clean. They must get to the root issues of their addiction and find better ways to handle stress and negative emotions. Breaking those psychological ties isn’t easy, but with help from a qualified treatment program, it is possible.
A Place to Help Women Achieve Lasting Sobriety
Soledad House is a women’s-only rehab facility in San Diego, California. We provide a comfortable, safe space for women to heal from the damage addiction has caused in their lives. With help from our experienced professionals, clients can break the physical and emotional bonds they have to addictive substances.
Our services include:
- Residential rehab
- Outpatient rehab
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Extended care
- Individualized addiction treatment plan
If you’re ready to end your physical and psychological dependence on drugs and alcohol, call the professionals at Soledad House. We’ll help you regain control of your life and overcome addiction. Reach out today at 866-314-3222.