When discussing substance abuse, two terms stand out–physical and psychological dependence. Although they interconnect, they’re two separate conditions that people with a drug problem experience. At detox centers, experts help those struggling with addiction to overcome the physical aspect. They also introduce some recovery therapies that help with the psychological issues.
No, You’re Not Weak-Willed
When people talk about the psychological dependence on drugs, they frequently make the mistake of associating it with a lack of willpower. That simply is not the case. Science has proven that physical and mental dependence on any substance is complex. It commonly results from a combination of genetic factors, social learning, and availability of the drug.
A Closer Look at Psychological Dependence
At the onset, choosing to use a drug is a voluntary act. Whether someone wants to find out what it feels like or just be “one of the guys,” the first dose typically results from a decision. But from there, paths vary.
- Repetition of the decision. If someone liked the way a high felt, s/he may decide to repeat his or her decision. If s/he does so often enough, the body builds up a tolerance to the drug. Now, it takes a higher quantity to reach the effects of the substance.
- Physical dependence. For some, the body begins to expect the regular influx of the substance. When the person using the drug doesn’t follow through, s/he might start feeling ill.
- Brain changes. The chemicals contained in drugs tend to modify the brain’s chemistry. Opioids, for example, alter the brain’s ability to produce endorphins, which make you feel good. Before long, the only way to have this feeling is by ingesting prescription or illegal opioids.
- Cravings. After the brain changes have taken place, the free-will decision to take a drug recreationally turns into an intense need. At this point, there is a substantial likelihood that an addictive process is taking place. You no longer have the choice to take it or leave it. Instead, your desire for the drug is so strong that you’ll do anything to get it.
- Functional changes. By now, you’ve ceased many of your pursuits. Instead, you’re living for the high and the drug use. The shifts in the brain’s chemistry result in altered decision-making processes, changed behaviors, and a different understanding of personal judgment.
Can You Cure a Psychological Dependence on Drugs?
Because therapists and medical professionals accept that a drug use disorder is a disease, they had to categorize it. At this time, a substance abuse problem falls under the category of a chronic illness. Much like asthma or diabetes, there is no cure. That said, you can treat the condition much as you would any other chronic disease.
Experts refer to the long-term rehab treatment as recovery. Comparing it to a journey, it starts with detoxification. Detox is a short-term process that helps break the chains of a physical addiction to a substance. From there, rehab helps the person struggling with drug use to overcome a psychological dependence.
Detox Changes Your Life
When you want to overcome addiction and recovery becomes your new focus in life, you succeed in leaving reliance on a drug behind. You once again have the choice of using a drug or not. Therapists and medical professionals will work very hard during the detox phase to ensure that you don’t feel compelled to go down that road again. Call Serenity House Detox & Recovery today by dialing 866-294-5306. This small step has the power to change your entire future – for the better!