Tackling the Elusive Psychological Addiction
A psychological addiction refers to how an individual can become mentally dependent on certain substances or behaviors. Even when the individual realizes the harm that alcohol and drugs are causing them they may continue to use because of these psychological symptoms – willpower alone is often not enough to overcome a psychological addiction.
Physical vs Psychological Addiction
It would be misleading to say that physical addiction and psychological addiction are completely separate. This is because the brain and the body are not different things – the brain is part of the body. It is possible for the individual to have addiction symptoms that are predominantly psychological in nature. A good example of this would be gambling or internet addiction. When it comes to alcohol and drugs the individual will usually develop both a physical and psychological addiction. The way this usually happens is that the individual develops a psychological dependence and this drives them to keep using the drugs until they become physically addicted as well.
Theory of Psychological Addiction
It is theorized that psychological addiction develops through a consistent and frequent exposure to specific stimulus. The most common types of psychological addictions are gambling, followed by sex addiction. Other behaviors which can cause a psychological dependence are physical exercise, shopping and eating food with high sugar or fat content.
Symptoms of Psychological Addiction
- The symptoms of psychological addiction include:
- Intense cravings to use their substance of choice
- Feelings of high anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling unable to cope with the substance
- Being in denial
- Being obsessed with getting and using drugs or alcohol
- Anxiety at the thought of not having access to the substance
- Mood swings
Effective Treatment for Psychological Addiction
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, there is no single treatment that will be appropriate for everyone. Treatment programs need to be tailored to the individual, and must address all their needs, not just the drug or alcohol abuse. The individual must also be in treatment for a suitable amount of time, which will vary with each case. It has been found that counseling and behavioral therapies are the most effective form of treating psychological addiction. It is also recommended that the treatment plan should be assessed periodically to ensure that it is still effective for the individual, as they move through different phases of addiction and recovery.
Blueprints provides support for young adults facing addiction recovery. Call us if you need help for your loved one who is struggling to quit gambling or other psychological addictions. 877-594-4901.