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Psychological vs. Physical Addiction: 10 Quick Facts

Addiction is a complex combination of physical and psychological factors. These facts all add up to a loss of control over a substance or behavior. Addiction psychology sheds light on what can be a confusing process. This helps people better understand the dynamics between psychological vs. physical addiction. The Ranch PA‘s expert team can not only provide information to educate you or a loved one but also provide the care and treatment necessary. Our numerous programs treat not just the physical aspects of substance use disorder but the psychological ones as well. Programs like our dual diagnosis treatment center explore how to best set up clients for a lasting recovery.

Psychological vs. Physical Addiction

Here are some “at-a-glance” facts about the complex process of addiction and dependency:

  1. The terms addiction and dependency are often used interchangeably. Becoming dependent on a substance is considered the same as becoming addicted to that substance.
  2. Physical addiction is characterized by withdrawal. This is the process that occurs when you stop using or stop drinking. Withdrawal involves physical symptoms such as tremors or increased heart rate.
  3. Building up a tolerance to a substance is part of the process of developing an addiction. Tolerance occurs when individuals need increasingly larger amounts of alcohol or drugs to obtain the effect they are used to.
  4. Cravings include the strong urge to use and feelings of longing for a drink or drug. Professionals understand it as one aspect of psychological dependence.
  5. The differences between physical and psychological dependence have become less clear. This is due to researchers in addiction psychology increasing their understanding of brain chemistry and the role of neurotransmitters. Thus, even psychological aspects of addiction may have physical underpinnings.
  6. Both physical and psychological dependence are treatable.
  7. Treatment for physical and psychological dependence may include medication, psychotherapy, and self-help groups.
  8. When learning about different substances and the potential for addiction, it is important to take into account both physical and psychological addictive potential. Some substances, such as marijuana, may have a very high potential for psychological dependence but a very low potential for physical addiction. This does not make the substance any less dangerous to use, however.
  9. According to researchers in addiction psychology, relapse prevention strategies are key in addressing the enduring aspects of psychological addiction.
  10. Twelve-step groups, psychotherapy, and a healthy lifestyle can help safeguard your recovery, regardless of whether you experienced physical addiction, psychological addiction, or both.

The Ranch PA

At The Ranch PA, clients will find themselves surrounded by supportive, dedicated experts. With deep experience distinguishing psychological vs physical addiction, our team uses a variety of therapies and treatments. For example, we offer:

We gear these therapies and the others we offer to the specific needs of our clients. Because we know no two individuals will experience recovery in the same way, we provide options. If you or a loved one is ready to confront substance use disorder and get treatment, we’re here to help. Explore our programs and learn more about your options by contacting us today at 717.969.9126.

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