We now know that addiction is not a choice, a moral flaw or a shortcoming of any kind. While the exact development of an addiction can vary from one person to the next, there is also a key psychological component. In addition to physical addiction, psychological addiction is a big part of how alcohol and drug dependencies form. Dive deeper into why psychology plays a role in addiction and how that impacts treatment.
Cravings are a Sign of a Psychological Addiction
Cravings are a common part of an addiction to drugs or alcohol. However, these cravings aren’t necessarily physical. In fact, they may be one sign of a psychological addiction.
Some human cravings are necessary. For instance, people crave food and water. That’s because these two things are required for human survival.
Drugs and alcohol, on the other hand, aren’t needed for continued life. While it may feel that way in the midst of an addiction, it is entirely possible for all humans to live without access to these addictive substances. These cravings may point to psychological addiction and the role that the brain plays on substance dependence.
Substance Abuse Can Impact Sleep, Pleasure or Sex Drive
Substances like drugs and alcohol can absolutely affect physical health. It is no secret that addiction is a serious danger, and it can lead to everything from kidney damage to a heart attack. However, substance abuse can also impact other areas of a person’s life.
Psychological addiction can change the way that people sleep and the way that they feel motivated. Lethargy and insomnia are common symptoms of addiction. The intrinsic drive to succeed or make connections with other people can disappear because of drug or alcohol addiction. This isn’t necessarily a physical concern, but it can impact the quality of life in a devastating way.
Even Physical Pain is Impacted by Psychological Factors
Some people can point to the physical pain of addiction and withdrawal as proof that it is not psychological. However, even physical pain is largely impacted by psychology.
Some research suggests that more than half of all the physical pain people feel is actually an emotional response to the pain. That’s why, as one example, people with depression are more likely to suffer from physical discomfort. Knowing that it becomes harder to separate the physical and psychological aspects of addiction, but it is easy to see that both play a role.
Mental Health is a Major Aspect of Addiction Development
There is a multitude of factors that can contribute to the development of an addiction. Mental health is one of the biggest and most common of these factors, and it clearly points to a psychological component of addiction.
As many as half of those people with an addiction to drugs or alcohol also have a mental illness. In the same vein, half of those with a mental illness suffer from addiction.
Relapse Demonstrates the Psychological Component of Addiction
If addiction were entirely physical, then detox should be enough to break that physical dependence. Of course, that is not true. Relapse is a risk for more than half of all those individuals who achieve sobriety.
The reality is that many people routinely struggle with the addiction cycle. They get clean and then relapse, only to do it all over again. Addressing the psychology behind addiction might reveal better, longer lasting results.
Including Psychology in Addiction Treatment
At Steps to Recovery, we recognize psychological addiction. Throughout addiction treatment, psychological support is provided and psychological and behavioral issues are made a priority. This comprehensive approach to wellness might include any or all of the following methods:
To truly treat your addiction, don’t dismiss the psychological components. At Steps to Recovery in Levittown, Pennsylvania, we can help you work toward your lifelong sobriety. Call 267.719.8528 today to begin your road to recovery.