Author: Alex Thompson

Psychological and Physical Addiction: Whats the Difference?

what is the difference between physical and psychological addiction

When you’re caught in the grip of addiction, it’s a very frightening and confusing place. Discover strategies, parental control apps, and healthy alternatives to create a balanced digital environment. When you begin using drugs, your initial euphoric feelings are tied into the places and situations in which you use them. The first edition of the DSM was released in 1952 and has undergone several revisions and updates since. Over the years, the DSM has faced criticism for giving the pharmaceutical industry an unhealthy influence on the revision process, pathologizing patterns of behavior and moods to encourage medicating patients¹.

It implied that people could have psychological problems with addictive drugs even if they were not physically dependent, such as a binge drinker who never experienced withdrawal symptoms or tolerance. On the other hand, physical addiction is characterized by physiological changes in the body caused by repeated exposure to a substance. It typically occurs when the body becomes dependent on the substance to function normally. Physical addiction can develop from the continuous use of drugs, alcohol, or certain medications that lead to tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and cravings. Physical addiction is a distinct form of addiction characterized by the body’s physiological dependence on a substance or behavior.

what is the difference between physical and psychological addiction

That said, sometimes you can have symptoms of addiction that are mostly psychological. For example, if you are addicted to gambling, you’ll solely suffer from an intense psychological urge to gamble. If, on the other hand, you’re addicted to a substance like a specific drug or type of spirit, you’ll usually first develop a psychological addiction and then a physical one. If you are experiencing a psychological addiction and attempt to quit using your drug of choice, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms as your body tries to compensate for the lack of chemicals in its system.

The Current Definition: Substance Use Disorder in the DSM-V

It is common for individuals struggling with addiction to experience both psychological and physical dependency simultaneously. Co-occurring psychological and physical addiction presents unique challenges and requires a comprehensive approach to treatment. All in all, the only way to look at Addiction is as both a psychological addiction AND a physical addiction that are inextricably liked through our psyche’s presence in the brain, a physical part of the body. It may seem like a small thing, but this distinction makes many users feel as if their problem is less, or more, severe than that of other addicts.

Adi Jaffe, Ph.D., is a lecturer at UCLA and the CEO of IGNTD, an online company that produces podcasts and educational programs on mental health and addiction. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have become an integral part of many people’s lives. However, the constant need to check notifications, likes, and followers can develop into a compulsive behavior that interferes with daily life. However, as an addiction is complex and stands as a personal illness, causing many different responses, treatments will be recommended personally to each client through our services. It is true that your brain and your body will react very differently to stimulants, such as meth and cocaine than it will to depressants like heroin and alcohol.

what is the difference between physical and psychological addiction

While food is necessary for survival, some individuals may develop an addiction to certain types of food. Foods high in sugar or fat can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, leading to cravings and compulsive eating behaviors. Factors contributing to addiction can include genetic predisposition, mental health conditions, socio-cultural influences, and life experiences. These factors interact and influence one another, making addiction a complex interplay between biological, psychological, and social aspects. Addiction refers to a chronic condition characterized by the compulsive engagement in a particular substance or behavior, despite its negative consequences. It is a multifaceted phenomenon that affects individuals on physical, psychological, and social levels.

Scientists believe that these changes alter the way the brain works and may help explain the compulsive and destructive behaviors of an addicted person. Once a person begins using on a daily or regular basis, the body becomes dependent on that drug. This means the cells can’t function the way they have been without the drug they have become accustomed to. As a result, painful withdrawal symptoms set in, causing most people to reach for the drug to make the pain go away.

Psychological and physical addiction are two distinct forms of addiction that differ in their root causes, manifestations and symptoms, and treatment approaches. It is essential to recognize the key differences between these types of addiction to develop comprehensive treatment strategies that address both the psychological and physical aspects of addiction. Understanding the key differences between psychological and physical addiction is crucial for healthcare professionals, individuals struggling with addiction, and their loved ones. By recognizing the distinct root causes, manifestations and symptoms, and treatment approaches, we can develop a comprehensive understanding of addiction and provide appropriate support and interventions to those in need.

Approaches for Psychological Addiction

Long-term drug or alcohol use leads to a state of physical dependence, where your body’s cells can’t seem to function normally without that substance. However, over time, a physical state of tolerance means your body needs more drugs or alcohol to feel their effects. When you’re discussing the difference between physical and psychological dependence, it’s easy to become confused between the words “dependence” and “addiction,” as they’re often used interchangeably.

  1. In time though, your body will stop reacting to the substances in the way it did when they were first introduced, and developing a tolerance.
  2. It is essential to recognize the key differences between these types of addiction to develop comprehensive treatment strategies that address both the psychological and physical aspects of addiction.
  3. If you try to stop your addiction, or even just cut down on your drug use, you’ll experience cravings.
  4. Sexual activity can also lead to physical addiction due to the release of dopamine and other pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters.
  5. Although physical and psychological addiction may coexist, distinguishing between the two can guide appropriate treatment approaches and interventions.
  6. However, for some individuals, it becomes a way to cope with stress or negative emotions.

The physical side effects of drug use are often enough for people to want to stop, but they may require medical treatment to overcome their withdrawals safely. Knowing the stance of the American Psychiatric Association, can we still assume there is a difference between psychological and physical addiction? Absolutely, but the distinction all depends on the particular experiences of the person struggling with a substance use disorder.

Common signs and symptoms of psychological addiction:

Treating psychological and physical addiction often requires different approaches due to their distinct characteristics. Psychological addiction is commonly addressed through therapy and counseling aimed at identifying and addressing the underlying emotional and psychological factors contributing to the addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and support groups are often effective in treating psychological addiction. Understanding the characteristics and contributing factors of psychological addiction is crucial to recognizing and addressing this type of dependency. It is important to seek professional help and support when dealing with psychological addiction, as it often requires comprehensive treatment approaches that target both the psychological and physical aspects of addiction.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. As your body gets used to whichever substances you’re taking, you’ll need more and more drugs to achieve the same effect. If, after this, you try to quit drugs, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, and should seek help from an experienced rehab center to get you through detoxification safely. The difference between physical and psychological addiction is not as defined as you might think.

Symptoms of Physical Addiction

Over the period of a psychological addiction, users are also likely to experience the feeling of denial, mental health issues, psychological impairment and cognitive weaknesses. The psychological side of addiction represents the compulsion of the mind to drink or use based on a perceived need the substance fills. This facet of addiction can occur even if the person doesn’t display physical dependency symptoms.

Behavioral addictions are often triggered by factors such as genetics and personality, and often coincide with substance abuse. Physical addiction can develop more quickly in some individuals than in others, based on factors such as the substance being used, the amount being used, and on whether the substance is being injected, smoked, or taken orally. For instance, those injecting a potent, highly addictive substance like heroin on a regular basis can become physically addicted to the drug after a matter of days. This evidence suggests that the physical versus psychological addiction comparison could result from changes in brain chemistry from addictive behaviors rather than solely a result of substance use. In summary, the DSM-V incorporates elements of both psychological and physical addiction into the diagnosis of a substance use disorder and does not prioritize one over the other. It seems that people think about physical addiction and psychological addiction as somehow separate processes.