Everything You Need to Know About Psychological Dependence

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Many people know of the physical withdrawal symptoms that can occur if a person becomes physically dependent on a substance – migraines/headaches, irritability, shakiness, dizziness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, paranoia and more. Any addictive substance can cause withdrawal, but what if someone is psychologically dependent on a substance? Despite common beliefs, physical and psychological dependence often intertwine – there is typically no sole “physical dependence” or “psychological dependence” without the other to some extent or degree. Psychological dependence is defined as, “emotional-motivational withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of drug use or exposure to a stimulus”.

Psychological dependence occurs when substance use has preoccupied the mind – causing the individual to focus most of their thoughts, motivations, and energies into acquiring and consuming substances. Many times, individuals will rely on substance to help ease uncomfortable feelings, such as sadness, anger, depression, anxiety, and more. For example, a 2015 study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors explored the ways in which 18-25 use marijuana; 288 adults were evaluated and results from the study showed that using marijuana use to cope was positively associated with cannabis use disorder. Some participants were shown to use marijuana to help them cope with symptoms of depression and perceived stress – signs of psychological dependence.

If you have been struggling with substance dependence, it’s important that you reach out to a reputable treatment center to participate in a program that can help you develop the tools that you need to effectively manage underlying mental illness symptoms and to better cope with unsettling emotions due to life’s challenges. The right treatment program can provide you with support, resources, education, and structure to getting you back towards living a happier, healthier, more manageable life. In fact, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that after one year of sobriety, participants experienced improved satisfaction with life, improved executive functions and psychological distress, and more. All you have to do is work hard and utilize the tools and resources provided to you.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.