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Physical Dependence

Those seeking a meth addiction treatment center often understand that addiction consists of both physical and psychological dependence. Addiction is a combination of these two. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to determine what constitutes physical dependence. On the surface, physical dependence is shown when your body reacts with physical discomfort if you are not taking the substance your body is dependent on. Let’s explore this topic a bit deeper so you will know how to tell if you’re physically dependent on a drug.

What Exactly is Physical Dependence

Your brain is designed to know what your body needs. When you first take a drug, it creates a condition where your brain reacts in an unusual way in response. You may feel more euphoric or your mind may become calmer. The chemicals in your brain that control these things will move to the background and allow the drug to send the artificial signals. Each time you take the drug, the natural chemical producers in the brain will become overwhelmed and cease to act normally. They allow the artificial drug to take charge. In time, your brain will cease to produce these chemicals, such as serotonin. You can no longer experience pleasure naturally. If you do not take the drug, your mind, which now believes the artificial chemicals are normal will send out messages to the rest of your body that something is wrong. Your body will then produce unpleasant symptoms, known as withdrawal symptoms, in order to convince you to give it that drug. You basically can’t function normally without it because you have become physically dependent.

How to Tell if You Are Physically Dependent

Most people don’t know how to tell if you’re physically dependent. The best way to do so is to ask yourself if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Cravings when you don’t have the drug
  • Increased tolerance. Are you finding that it takes a higher dose to produce the same feeling you initially got when you took the substance?
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you do not take the substance. You may begin to tremble or have seizures, get the sweats, experience nausea, constipation or diarrhea or feel like you have a bad case of the flu.
  • Are you having sleep problems such as sleeping too much or hardly at all?

All of these are strong indicators that you are physically dependent on the drug.

Treating Physical Dependence

The way to teat physical dependence is to withdraw the artificial substance and allow the brain to gradually start producing the pleasure chemicals on its own. For some people, this is possible to do all at once but for others, it may require tapering off slowly. This allows the brain to gradually take over the same way it let go of the control. Getting through the physical withdrawal symptoms can make this reversal of dependence difficult. The good news is that often the physical dependence starts to lose hold within 48 hours of not ingesting the drug and the majority of the withdrawal symptoms disappear after a week or two. This is when you can then work on breaking the psychological dependence that makes up the second part of addiction. This part of the process normally takes a great deal more time and intensive therapy.

Find Your Path to Recovery

The Ranch PA is familiar with how difficult it can be to overcome physical dependence. With any addiction, this is what must be considered before psychological healing can begin. We are here to help guide you on your road to recovery. If you or a loved one is in need of help, reach out today and let us guide you through this. 717.969.9126

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