Physical Dependence vs Psychological Dependence
Therefore, it is clear that there is substantial remission from alcohol-use disorders over time. Much of this remission takes place without contact with alcohol treatment services (Dawson et al., 2005a). However, it is important to note that most of the alcohol consumed by the population is drunk by a minority of heavy drinkers. In addition to physical signs of withdrawal, a constellation of symptoms contributing to a state of distress and psychological discomfort constitute a significant component of the withdrawal syndrome (Anton and Becker 1995; Roelofs 1985; Schuckit et al. 1998). Many of these signs and symptoms, including those that reflect a negative-affect state (e.g., anxiety, distress, and anhedonia) also have been demonstrated in animal studies involving various models of dependence (Becker 2000).
Equivalent levels of alcohol consumption will give rise to a higher blood alcohol concentration in older people compared with younger people (Reid & Anderson, 1997). The US National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has therefore recommended people over the age of 65 years should drink no more than one drink (1.5 UK units) per day and no more than seven drinks (10.5 UK units) per week. A related issue is that standard alcohol screening psychological dependence on alcohol tools such as the AUDIT may require a lower threshold to be applied in older people (O’Connell et al., 2003). The adolescent therefore may continue drinking despite problems, which manifest as difficulties with school attendance, co-morbid behavioural difficulties, peer affiliation and arguments at home. It is estimated that approximately 63,000 people entered specialist treatment for alcohol-use disorders in 2003–04 (Drummond et al., 2005).
Programs With a Focus on Psychological Dependence
The mind craves these chemicals and reacts negatively when they’re suddenly gone. If you are in an urgent situation, pleasevisit our Emergency page to view a list of 24 hour support services and hotlines. Reach out to us today by filling out the contact form below with your name, contact information, and a brief message about your recovery journey. Over 20 million Americans age 12 or older have an addiction (excluding Nicotine). Research estimates that genetics account for 40 to 60% of a person’s likelihood of developing an SUD.
When people continue to use drugs or alcohol after becoming tolerant to them, they will develop a physical dependence where they experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t take the drug. However, certain substances have a higher risk of physical dependence than others. For example, drugs like alcohol, benzodiazepines, methamphetamine, and opioids may result in physical dependence faster than drugs like marijuana or ecstasy. Still, repeated use of any addictive substance can lead to both physical and psychological dependence.
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While drinking alcohol may be an enjoyable way to spend time with others, feeling like you or a loved one can’t stop or cut down on alcohol use can be an alarming experience. If you’re concerned about your drinking habits, it may be beneficial to have a conversation with a health care professional and discuss ways to avoid (or manage) a physical or psychological dependence. Another option could be to seek counseling, where you or a loved one could explore the relationship with alcohol and learn about alternative coping mechanisms. While it is up to you to consider how you feel about your alcohol use habits, know that there are resources available if you would like assistance in changing it. Once the effects of alcohol wear off, so does the feeling of happiness, pleasure and satisfaction caused by the neurotransmitters.
- Thereafter, the prevalence of alcohol-use disorders declines steadily with age.
- In more common language and in earlier disease-classification systems this has been referred to as ‘alcoholism’.
- Someone with an alcohol dependence may have an emotional reaction to something as simple as ice clinking against a glass.
- Consequently, people suffering from psychological dependence will spend excess time obtaining drugs, using the drugs, and recovering from the side effects of the drugs.
Treatment of alcohol withdrawal is, however, only the beginning of rehabilitation and, for many, a necessary precursor to a longer-term treatment process. Withdrawal management should therefore not be seen as a standalone treatment. The idea that a particular ‘addictive personality’ leads to the development of alcohol dependence is popular with some addiction counsellors, but does not have strong support from research. Often with patients in treatment for alcohol dependence, it is difficult to disentangle the effects of alcohol on the expression of personality and behaviour from those personality factors that preceded alcohol dependence.
The Most Common Addictions
Cognitive problems like decision-making become impaired because of changes in thought processes because of chemical imbalances induced by ethanol consumption. Other cognitive issues related to prolonged alcohol abuse include problems with memory, reasoning, etc. The sense organs also get affected by long-term use/abuse of alcoholic beverages. The nerve endings around our eyes, ears, etc., become so used to being exposed to large amounts of Alcohol that they get damaged themselves as well. This results in eye problems such as blurred vision or even blindness and issues with the inner ear such as hearing loss.