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Just the Facts: Physical and Psychological Addiction

Addiction is a term that is very broad. To completely understand addiction, one must be able to differentiate between a physical and psychological addiction. Below is an explanation of the differences between the two types of addiction.

What Is a Physical Addiction?

If a person is physically addicted to a drug, this means that he or she has developed a tolerance to it. It also means that the body has become physically dependent on the drug. People who are physically addicted to a drug will become ill if he or she suddenly stops using the drug.

The symptoms that a person feels after he or she stops using a drug are often referred to as withdrawal symptoms. The type of withdrawal symptoms that a person experiences can vary, depending about the kind of drug that he or she is using. Some of the common withdrawal symptoms include vomiting, nausea, restless leg syndrome, diarrhea, headaches, and sweating.

Some people may also have convulsions. Certain substances, such as alcohol, are likely to cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. How long a person has been using the drug also affects how intense the withdrawal symptoms are. The longer a person has been using the drug, the more severe the symptoms will be.

It is important to note that people can also become addicted to relatively harmless substances, such as caffeine. A person does not have to stop using a drug entirely to experience withdrawal symptoms. A person may experience withdrawal symptoms even if he or she only decreases the dosage.

What Is a Psychological Addiction?

People who have a psychological addiction do not have a physical need for the drug. They have a mental desire for it. It is possible for a person to develop a psychological addiction to any substance, including alcohol. Substances can affect the part of the brain that controls pleasurable feelings. People continue to use the substance because they long to experience that pleasurable feeling again.

People can also develop a psychological addiction to things that are not substances. Internet addiction and gambling are examples of psychological addictions.

The Connection Between Physical and Psychological Addiction

Many people suffer from both a physical and psychological addiction. In many cases, they develop the psychological addiction first. A person has an intense mental desire for the drug. They continue to use it until they become physically addicted to it. That is why it is hard to separate the two completely.

Why Inpatient Rehab is Necessary

Regardless of whether one is suffering from a physical or psychological addiction, he or she will be able to benefit from inpatient rehab. People who have any addiction require around-the-clock professional care, which is what one gets in inpatient rehab. People also get the support that they need during inpatient rehab.

Additionally, inpatient rehab teaches people how they can remain addiction free for life. There are several challenges people face after leaving rehab. They will learn how to face those challenges while in inpatient rehab.

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