What Are Psychological Addictions?

What Are Psychological Addictions? Pathfinders Recovery Center - A young man is meeting with an addiction counselor to go over what psychological addictions are.

About Psychological Addictions

When people think of addictions, what usually comes to mind are addictive substances that predominantly affect the human body.

While most habits primarily affect the body, psychological addictions occur in the brain.

Psychological dependence involves becoming mentally fixated upon a substance or activity.

Such addictions can overrule your life and cause you to behave in a way that is not recognized by your loved ones.

It causes strong feelings or compulsions in the mind, making the addict feel as if they cannot go without the substance when, in reality, their body does not need it.

Dependency affects thought processes, making it difficult for people who are addicted to thinking about anything else.

Psychological addictions are sometimes more challenging to diagnose and address than physical addictions because they are not obvious.

While physical addictions cause outwardly visible symptoms of withdrawal, psychological addictions happen almost entirely within the mind.

There is less research and knowledge of psychological addictions because they are not as obvious.

What Are Psychological Addictions? Pathfinders Recovery Center - A group of individuals is attending a group therapy session led by an addiction specialist to go over what psychological addictions are.

Understanding Psychological Addictions

While the term “psychological addiction” is common, psychological dependencies are not strictly addictions. The traditional definition of the word “addiction” involves substance abuse that affects the body. However, the term has widened to include other compulsive behaviors such as gambling and non-physically addictive substances.

There is debate over some forms of psychological addictions, such as those caused by drugs not traditionally seen as addictive. Some scientists perceive marijuana addiction as psychological, while others argue it is a physical addiction.

Most users reporting addiction to marijuana, according to Indiana University, report a psychological dependency. Another drug that can cause psychological dependence is LSD, commonly referred to as “acid.” Though different from physical addictions caused by other substances like opioids and alcohol, psychological habits are still harmful.

Behavioral addictions are another type of psychological dependency. Addictions are often known as only involving substances, but they can and do affect various behaviors.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), many behavioral scientists believe that anything capable of stimulating someone also has addictive capabilities.

Addiction develops when a former habit becomes a compulsion. Activities susceptible to forming behavioral addictions include surfing the internet, gambling, playing video games, and watching videos or television. Psychological addictions occur behaviorally as well as with substance abuse.

It is crucial to remember that while psychological and physical addictions are two different things, changed mental processes occur both. The psychology of addictions is complex and still being studied.

Both physical and psychological dependence affect some brain processes, making addicts feel they cannot go without the drug. In physical addictions, the body experiences symptoms as well as the mind.

Physical and psychological addiction can occur together. When physical addiction occurs, it is very likely for the patient to have formed some mental dependency. Even if you no longer enjoy the substance, both your brain and body compulsively desire it.

While mental addiction sometimes occurs without physical addiction, it is less common for someone to be physically but not mentally addicted. When physical and psychological addiction occurs together, recovery becomes even more challenging to achieve.

Patients should receive treatment from both doctors and therapists in this case. Combining therapy, support groups, and medication is a common and effective treatment method for combined psychological and physical addictions.

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Effects and Abuse of Psychologically Addictive Substances

Continual use of psychologically addictive substances is harmful to the life of the addict. The body does not experience changes physically, but changes in behavior make life difficult. Physical symptoms in the body do not occur during a psychological dependency, but behavioral symptoms do. They include:

  • Compulsively feeling as though the person needs the drug or activity
  • Lack of interest in activities the person formerly enjoyed
  • Changed behavior toward work, school, family, or friends
  • Changes in mood

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Mental Illness and Psychological Addictions

If a mental illness is present in a person, addictions are much more likely to form. The term ‘dual diagnosis’ by MedlinePlus plays a role in the causation of substance abuse and mental health issues.

Psychological addiction is sometimes categorized as a form of mental health issue as it deals with compulsions and a perceived need for the substance or activity. If mental illness and psychological addiction are present, treatment is necessary for both conditions.

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Treatment of Psychological Addictions

Treatment for psychological addiction is sometimes similar to the treatment of physical addiction. Counseling offered focuses on overcoming compulsions caused by mental dependency. Patients learn behavioral therapy and coping mechanisms such as CBT and how to deal with compulsions.

Psychologists often treat mental dependence by focusing on what caused the addiction in the first place. Sometimes, childhood trauma or repeated patterns can be a conversational aspect of the process. When patients can understand why they turned to the substance or behavior in the first place, recovery becomes much more attainable. This process allows patients to work on the deep-rooted issues causing their dependency.

Therapists and doctors at our recommended rehabilitation centers are knowledgeable, compassionate, and present with their patients. The psychology of addictions is a complicated and changing field still studied, but our staff is up-to-date and dedicated to helping you recover.

Though we wish we could guarantee recovery completely, this is never possible. Relapse is undoubtedly a common and prevalent issue, but it is imperative to know that it is sometimes part of the process. Relapse in a mental dependency does not mean you have failed. It merely means you need continued work on the mental issue.

What Are Psychological Addictions? Pathfinders Recovery Center - A young man is meeting with an addiction counselor to go over what psychological addictions are.

 

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Payment for Treatment

Treatment for psychological dependencies sometimes falls under insurance coverage, but this is not a guarantee.

We offer free insurance verification to help you find out quickly about payment for treatment.

We understand that figuring out how to pay for therapy or counseling is burdensome and difficult.

Both behavioral and substance addictions cost significant amounts of money to maintain.

Gambling and drugs are examples of incredibly addictive behaviors that create a financial burden.

Addictions often cause difficulty in paying for the rehabilitation or therapy that you desperately need.

Our greatest goal always remains to supply you with the assets you need for recovery.

Please do not fear to reach out to us to discuss insurance verification or payment for rehabilitation services.

Psychological addictions differ from physical addictions in that no physical symptoms occur.

Though the body is not affected by mental dependencies, they are still capable of causing emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Thousands of Americans suffer from psychological dependence on a substance or behavior.

It is important to remember that you are not alone, and that recovery from your addiction is possible.

Emotional distress caused by a mental dependency is real and has the capability of disrupting your life.

Recovery is a long and challenging journey.

We know that obstacles like relapse and financial difficulty cause recovery to feel distant and sometimes even impossible.

These are real risks associated with rehabilitation, but the only way of knowing whether recovery is possible is to try.

Your addiction does not have to continue.

You are capable of the work needed to achieve a peaceful and addiction-free life.

Contact us to learn more about psychological addiction and to begin your recovery today. We are here for you.