Physical dependence occurs when the body has become dependent on a substance. A person is affected by physical changes such as body aches, fever, chills, stomach aches, headaches, and more. The physical symptoms that occur when a drug is stopped cause a person to use a substance again. There is a change in a person’s emotional state after the long-term use of a substance that changes chemicals in the brain. The change is due to neurotransmitters sending higher levels of certain chemicals. When the drug is stopped, the dopamine levels in the brain decrease.

  • When you’re ready to begin a new life free from addiction, you should always go to treatment for help.
  • Physical dependence occurs when the body has become dependent on a substance.
  • Tolerance and psychological and physical dependence may occur following prolonged use of BZDs.
  • When it comes to addiction, psychological and physical dependence are two terms that are often used interchangeably.
  • An individual’s past experiences, past and current environment, personality factors, and DNA are risk factors for psychological dependence.

Still, repeated use of any addictive substance can lead to both physical and psychological dependence. Alcohol and drug addiction treatment should include approaches for both physical and psychological dependencies. A dual diagnosis treatment center includes both mental health treatment and holistic approaches like nutrition, fitness, massage therapy, medication management, and other features that help mend the physical deficits of addiction. Some substance addictions will require special approaches to tackle the physical components. For example, heroin addiction treatment often includes medication-assisted treatment , which are medications and approaches that help ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings that arise during detox and the early days of recovery. Psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol is the emotional, motivational, and mental addictive qualities that come with substance abuse. Also known as a psychological addiction, psychological dependence has been linked to marijuana addiction, hallucinogen addiction, and other drug addictions that don’t have a strong physical dependency component to them.

How does it compare to physical dependence?

In order for addiction treatment to be effective, patients must receive treatment for their physical and psychological symptoms. By attending a residential rehab program, you will be able to confront your addiction, learn how to manage your symptoms, and gain life-long support that will be there for you throughout your sobriety.

  • Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.
  • Alcohol and drug addiction treatment should include approaches for both physical and psychological dependencies.
  • In fact, treatment professionals map the course of your programs and therapies according to your type of addiction.
  • Becker HC, Baros AM. Effect of duration and pattern of chronic ethanol exposure on tolerance to the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol in C57BL/6J mice.
  • If you continue to abuse drugs or alcohol, your health will suffer.

Psychological dependence happens when the brain becomes dependent on a drug or activity to feel good, causing a person to crave more of the drug. A person becomes addicted when they use drugs for short-term satisfaction despite a long-term negative outcome. Psychological addiction is a brain disorder involving substance abuse despite the negative outcomes that follow. Psychological dependence is a cognitive disorder that involves emotional–motivational withdrawal symptoms—e.g.

Psychological dependence

However, it is possible to become physically dependent on a substance without becoming psychologically addicted. Since addiction is such a complex disease, many people get confused about the difference between physical and psychological dependence. This experimental design can be further modified by the use of discriminative contextual cues.

Schuckit MA, Klein JL. Correlations between drinking intensity and reactions to ethanol and diazepam in healthy young men. Dependence-induced increases in ethanol self-administration in mice are blocked by the CRF1 receptor antagonist antalarmin and by CRF1 receptor knockout. Becker HC. Positive relationship between the number of prior ethanol withdrawal episodes and the severity of subsequent withdrawal seizures.

Psychological Dependence Examples

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is another example of psychological withdrawal. It’s a condition that sometimes pops up after the symptoms of physical withdrawal have subsided. Left unmanaged, withdrawal from certain substances can be severe and even life threatening in some cases. Other withdrawal symptoms, like those mentioned in the coffee example, are just uncomfortable. You’re probably dealing with both a physical and psychological dependence in this case. Addiction is a brain disorder involving compulsive substance use despite negative outcomes. It’s a complex condition with both psychological and physical elements that are hard to separate.

physiological dependence on alcohol

However, more often than not, people leave a gambling facility feeling horrible. This horrible feeling causes them to keep going back to get the euphoric feeling of winning.


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. Factors that might put one at higher risk for psychological dependence include past exposure to violence, environmental stressors, anxiety, or other mood disorders. Personality variables, such as neuroticism, low self-control, low self-regulation, low self-esteem, or loneliness can also be factors. People who have a family history of psychological dependence can also be at risk.

physiological dependence on alcohol

It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery. A strong treatment program will address both the physical and psychological components of addiction. Withdrawal symptoms will be carefully managed, using medications if necessary to ensure safe detoxification. For some drugs, such as benzodiazepines or opioids, the only safe way to detox is with the assistance of doctors or trained professionals to help you slowly ease off of the drugs in a safe manner. Physical dependence is generally thought of as the body’s response to withdrawing from drugs or alcohol. This can be a short-term withdrawal, such as the time between hits or drinks, or the symptoms can manifest in a more intense way as part of a formal detox process.

The Emotional Symptoms of Psychological Dependence

Create a poster, chart, or some other type of graphic organizer that shows the signs of physical dependence and the difference between physical dependence and psychological dependence. An example of physical dependence is someone who is addicted to alcohol and drinks alcohol every day. When the person does not have alcohol, they start to have physical symptoms. By consuming alcohol again, the physical symptoms go away and the person begins to feel better. Psychological dependence is an emotional state caused by how chemicals affect the brain. A person’s emotional behavior changes, resulting in mood swings, feelings of irritability, and depression. It could be playing video games, reading a book, socializing with friends, running, or drinking alcohol.

What is a common indication of substance abuse?

Symptoms may include: Using or drinking larger amounts or over longer periods of time than planned. Continually wanting or unsuccessfully trying to cut down or control use of drugs or alcohol. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of drugs or alcohol.

There has been considerable scientific effort over the past several decades to identify and understand the core features of alcohol dependence. The Severity physiological dependence on alcohol of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ or SAD-Q) is a 20 item clinical screening tool designed to measure the presence and level of alcohol dependence.

Once you have your morning coffee, however, the headache subsides. For example, some people have a dependence on their blood pressure medication. The mission of Footprints to Recovery is to provide the education, tools, and support for individuals, families, and the community to find the reason to achieve lasting recovery and a life lived to the fullest potential. Regular thoughts about drug abuse or alcohol abuse, like when, where, and how you’ll use them again. Anxiety as a predictor of relapse in detoxified alcohol-dependent patients. Rassnick S, Heinrichs SC, Britton KT, Koob GF. Microinjection of a corticotropin-releasing factor antagonist into the central nucleus of the amygdala reverses anxiogenic-like effects of ethanol withdrawal.

physiological dependence on alcohol


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