This shift implies that the American Psychiatric Association’s view of current science sees no meaningful difference in physical dependence or psychological addiction and encourages clinicians to treat both ailments as the same. Unlike substance dependence, meeting just a single criterion would result in a diagnosis of substance abuse. However, meeting the criteria for both substance abuse and substance dependence would only result in a diagnosis of substance dependence. People who have psychological drug dependence will have a change in behavior when they withdraw from the substance.

physiological dependence on alcohol

Understanding the difference between psychological and physical dependence, as well as how they both relate to addiction, can be helpful if you’re concerned with a loved one’s drug or alcohol use. Recognizing that many factors are involved in addictive behavior may help breed compassion as you assist a friend or family member on their road to recovery. Remember that addiction is treatable, and the more you understand the disease, the more you may be able to support a loved one as they go through treatment. Before physical dependence forms, the afflicted individual begins building a tolerance on their substance of choice. Tolerance refers to the phenomenon that occurs when people abuse mood or mind-altering substances so often that their body adjusts to having the substance in the body. As a result, someone who used to get high off taking one pill will need to take increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Tolerance works the same way with alcohol – someone who used to get drunk off of three beers may now need to drink hard liquor in larger amounts in order to get drunk.

Psychological Dependence Definition

Make a poster, chart, or some other type of graphic organizer that lists the risks factors for psychological dependence. Talking and expressing oneself is a great way to help ease pain both physically and psychologically. Taking either a cold or warm bath is another way to ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms by soothing the discomforts of sweating or chills.

Over the years, the DSM has faced criticism for giving the pharmaceutical industry an unhealthy influence on the revision process, pathologizing patterns of behavior and moods to encourage medicating patients¹. Your call is free and confidential, and there is no pressure to commit. If it turns out that our program is not the right fit for you, we will do whatever we can to help you find a program that meets your needs. Our main goal is to help you along your recovery journey and get you the help you need. We are ready and waiting to answer your questions or concerns.

Psychological vs. Physiological Dependence and Addiction

Physical dependence is sometimes simply called dependence, but this phrasing can cause confusion because addiction is sometimes referred to as dependence as well. Also, the alternative viewpoint that “addiction is a choice” is also incorrect because people with substance use disorders are motivated by many physical processes that affect their behavior in a number of ways. Physiological dependence can happen with the chronic use of most drugs—including many types of prescription drugs, even when they are taken as instructed by a physician.

What is a physiological dependence on alcohol?

Most individuals or sources that use the term psychological dependence are referring to the cognitive and emotional features of addictive behaviors or the withdrawal process from drugs or alcohol—this is in contrast to attempting to categorize specific substances or activities as being psychologically or physically …

The idea of going through withdrawal and quitting may fill you with feelings of dread. You may develop hostility toward others who suggest you have a substance abuse problem. In summary, the DSM-V incorporates elements of both psychological and physical addiction into the diagnosis of a substance use disorder and does not prioritize one over the other. Physical vs. psychological addiction can be a vicious cycle that keeps people using drugs or alcohol even if they want to quit. However, the good news is that when both are addressed by qualified addiction specialists, the ability to fully recover from addiction increases. Create a poster, chart, or some other type of graphic organizer that shows the signs of physical dependence and the difference between physical dependence and psychological dependence.

Detoxification Overcomes Withdrawal Symptoms

In this situation, the only thing that matters is getting the substance and using the substance. This can lead a person to do things they would not normally do.

Alcohol withdrawal and relapse studies of animals and humans are documenting the triggers that provoke relapse, and they are working to understand why some people are more sensitive than others to these behavior drivers. With continued drug or alcohol abuse, the body adjusts its chemical balance to compensate for the effects of the drug.

Alcohol Dependence, Withdrawal, and Relapse

Fahlke C, Hard E, Hansen S. Facilitation of ethanol consumption by intracere-broventricular infusions of corticosterone. 5The median raphe nucleus is an area in the brain stem that contains a large proportion physiological dependence on alcohol of the brain’s serotonin neurons and therefore significantly supplies the brain with this important neurotransmitter. Serotonin can influence CRF activity both within and outside the HPA axis.

How does physical dependence occur?

Physical dependence is when the body requires a specific dose of a particular drug, such as a prescription opioid1, in order to prevent withdrawal symptoms. This typically happens when a patient uses a drug long-term (six months or longer) to manage pain associated with a medical condition.

Indeed, both preclinical and clinical studies suggest a link between anxiety and propensity to self-administer alcohol (Henniger et al. 2002; Spanagel et al. 1995; Willinger et al. 2002). This experimental design can be further modified by the use of discriminative contextual cues. Addiction is also known as compulsive drug use despite harmful consequences. It is characterized by the inability to stop using a certain drug to the detriment of work, social, or family obligations. The latter reflect physical dependence during which the body adapts to the drug of choice, requiring more and more of it to achieve a certain effect. It also elicits drug-specific physical or psychological symptoms if drug use is abruptly ceased. For those who struggle with cocaine addiction or addiction to other stimulants, it’s a little different.

Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Addiction is a central condition that is characterized by unmanageable cravings, an inability to control drug use, compulsive drug use, and use despite inflicting harm on oneself or others. The destructive behaviors of addiction are borne of uncontrollable cravings—they are among the primary motivators of addiction itself. Physical dependence is characterized by the body relying on an external source of a chemical substance to prevent withdrawal.

physiological dependence on alcohol

The term psychological dependence is typically used to describe the emotional and mental processes that are related to the development of a substance use disorder or process addiction. When a person enters treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, the first step is typically to detox from drugs and/or alcohol. During detox, the goal is to completely remove drugs and alcohol from the person’s system. When a person goes “cold turkey” like this, they usually experience physical withdrawal symptoms, which is a sign of physical dependence.