Addiction isn’t a straightforward disease. In most cases, individuals have a physical dependence, but there are also psychological components at play. So, what is psychological dependence? Delve deeper into the science of a psychological dependence as well as how to overcome that dependence in addiction treatment.
What is Psychological Dependence?
Some individuals genuinely believe that they can’t do certain things without the help of specific substances. In these cases, addiction may be motivated primarily by a psychological dependence.
For example, a shy person might think that he or she can only socialize with the help of several alcoholic beverages. Additionally, this person might drink three or four drinks every night in order to facilitate dating or socializing. Doing this repeatedly, of course, can absolutely lead to an addiction.
Others believe that marijuana is necessary for sleep or relaxation. They might not yet have a physical addiction to the drug, but they depend on it each night. Over time, this dependence can become physical.
Inability to Experience Pleasure Without a Specific Substance
Many addictive substances flood the receptors in the brain with dopamine after each use. This is what is responsible for the wave of euphoria or pleasure that people commonly associated with substance abuse. Chronic substance abuse can actually change the way that the brain’s reward center functions.
Pleasure from other means will begin to pale in comparison to drug or alcohol use. This can be overwhelming, because users may start to believe that they can only find happiness or pleasure through substance abuse. Even if these individuals haven’t yet developed an addiction, this mental or emotional dependence will almost certainly speed it along.
All-Consuming Focus on Drug or Alcohol Use
In rare cases, people can have physical addictions to drugs or alcohol, but not obsessively focus on them at all times. For example, a person physically reliant on prescription painkillers might struggle with withdrawal if they were taken away. On a day-to-day basis, however, they can function normally. If a person has a psychological dependence, then it can be hard to focus on anything but the next use of a dangerous substance.
For individuals with addictions, substance abuse might be more important than getting to work on time. Finding the next dose of drugs might be more pressing than picking up your children from school or attending a family function. Those with substance addictions are often obsessive, able to focus only on drug or alcohol use and the next high.
Overcoming a Psychological Dependence on Drugs or Alcohol
If you’re dependent on drugs or alcohol, then treatment at Crestview Recovery can help. A comprehensive and customized recovery program can break the physical bonds to addiction, but it can also address psychological and underlying issues. Treatment methods that can be effective include:
- Family counseling
- Group therapy
- Cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies
- Mindfulness meditation therapy
- Trauma therapy
A psychological dependence can develop for a number of reasons, but you can overcome it. Fight back against addiction at Crestview Recovery in Portland, Oregon. Call 866.262.0531 to get answers to questions like “what is psychological dependence?” and more.