Understanding Psychological Dependence & Addiction

woman ponders psychological dependence to drugs and alcohol during addiction treatment

Substance abuse and drug addiction result in both physical and psychological dependency. While it is well known that substances like heroin and alcohol are physically addictive, they can also be psychologically addictive. Psychological dependence can involve drugs, alcohol, behavior, or a combination of the three.

Addiction is complex, causing significant changes to your brain chemistry, physical health, and emotions. When you become addicted to something, it can become very hard to stop without help. Psychological dependence can cause significant problems in your relationships, career, and family life.

Since addiction involves a compulsion to continue an action or behavior despite negative and harmful consequences, many behaviors can become addictive. Process and behavioral addictions are specific types of psychological dependencies, but psychotherapy in Houston, Texas can help you learn to control your behaviors and recover.

What is Psychological Dependence?

So, what is psychological dependence? Psychological dependency occurs when you become unable to control your behaviors. These behaviors could involve drugs or alcohol, or things like gambling and sex. Like physical addictions, psychological dependence changes your brain chemistry and your brain’s pleasure and reward center.

Psychological dependence involves the emotional and cognitive aspects of addiction. Psychological dependencies can cause physical symptoms, cravings, and stress. Some of the signs of psychological dependence include:

  • Experiencing anxiety when you attempt to stop your addictive behavior
  • Feeling depressed when you don’t engage in your addictive behavior
  • Romanticizing the addictive behavior
  • Denying that your addictive behavior is out of control
  • Craving your addictive behavior
  • Experiencing mood swings and sleeping problems

Certain things can cause only psychological dependence, such as gambling and shopping. Sometimes, drugs and alcohol can become both physically and psychologically addicting. You can also become psychologically addicted to drugs or alcohol without experiencing physical dependency.

With certain drug and alcohol addictions, you can become psychologically dependent on not only the substance but also the process involved with acquiring or using the substance.

How is Psychological Dependence Treated?

Treating psychological dependency can become complex. When you believe you can’t live without a substance or behavior, it takes extensive treatment to recover. Targeted addiction therapies specialize in helping you change your behaviors by evaluating and changing the problematic thought processes involved with addiction.

Learning how to properly cope with stress, negative thoughts and feelings, and conflict can help you cope with life without the need to engage in destructive or addictive behaviors. Finding ways to properly cope with things like cravings and triggers can improve your ability to avoid relapsing. Treatment also offers you the opportunity to allow family members and loved ones to participate in counseling.

Finding Help Today

When you are battling a psychological dependence on a behavior or substance, you can feel hopeless, frustrated, and lost. Reaching out for help can make recovery possible. Kemah Palms, which provides you with the best addiction rehab center in Houston TX, understands what it takes to overcome an addiction and find recovery. To find out more information about your treatment options and how our programs can help you or a loved one, call us today today.