Psychological dependence can be difficult to understand and can be a significant obstacle to recovery for people struggling with addiction. This term refers to the psychological cravings, urges, or behaviors that are experienced in response to continued substance use. It can include feelings of compulsion, obsession, and preoccupation with obtaining and using substances. Understanding the factors that contribute to this type of dependence is an important step in overcoming addiction and achieving long-term recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with psychological dependence, BoardPrep Recovery Center® offers substance abuse treatment for professionals. Whether it’s alcohol dependence or addiction to another substance, our staff is here to help you regain control of your life and heal from dependence. Contact us today at 866.796.4720 to learn more about our programs and how we can help you or your loved one find the path to recovery.
What Is Psychological Dependence?
To be psychologically dependent on a substance means to be unable to function effectively without it. Some common examples of substances that can lead to psychological dependence include alcohol, opioids, and stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. People who are psychologically dependent on these substances may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit or cut back their usage.
How is Psychological Dependence Different Than Physical Dependence?
While physical dependence is often seen as a necessary component of addiction, psychological dependence can occur without the presence of physical dependence. While physical dependence involves changes in the brain that are driven by the need for continued use of a substance or behavior to prevent withdrawal symptoms, psychological dependence refers more specifically to an individual’s emotional and behavioral attachments to these substances or behaviors.
So what exactly is psychological dependence, and how does it differ from physical dependence? People who are psychologically dependent on a substance or behavior tend to use that substance or engage in that behavior as a form of self-medication for dealing with emotional distress. They may also have difficulty functioning without the substance or behavior, experiencing withdrawal symptoms including:
- Cravings for the substance
People who are psychologically dependent on substances or behaviors often have difficulty stopping, even when they want to. In some cases, they may even continue using despite negative consequences like job loss, financial problems, and strained relationships.
What Causes Psychological Dependence?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol. These may include genetic, biochemical, environmental, social, and psychological factors. Some of the most common risk factors for developing an addiction to substance abuse include exposure to addictive substances at an early age. Other potential risk factors may include:
- Having a family history of addiction
- Experiencing mental health conditions like anxiety or depression
- Social stressors, such as poverty or social isolation
- Incarceration or other trauma
It is important to seek professional help if you are struggling with psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol. It’s important to remember that not everyone who uses substances or engages in behaviors is psychologically dependent on them. For example, someone might drink alcohol occasionally without experiencing any negative consequences. But someone who is psychologically dependent on alcohol might find that they can’t go for more than a few hours without drinking and that their life revolves around getting and using alcohol. If you’re concerned that you might be psychologically dependent on a substance or behavior, it’s important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional.
Find Treatment for Dependence at BoardPrep Recovery Center®
Psychological dependence is a serious problem that can profoundly affect every area of your life. If you think you might be dependent on a substance or behavior, it’s important to reach out for help. There are many treatment options available—including therapy, medication, and support groups—that can help you overcome dependence and live a healthy life. Whether drug or alcohol dependence, our treatment services can help you overcome the hurdles. Contact us today at 866.796.4720.