Some people may view addiction as either physical or psychological, when it is, in fact, a combination of both. Since the brain and the body are intricately connected, it seems obvious that addiction is both physical and psychological. However, there is a difference between physical dependence in which the body adapts to the drug, and addiction in which there is an inability to stop using the drug. This distinction may be why some people ask whether addiction is physical or psychological.
Physical vs. Psychological
Addiction leads to harmful consequences for the sufferer; affecting their work, social, and familial responsibilities. These effects are psychological. Alternately, building a tolerance to the drug used, in which more of the drug must be used to achieve the same effect, is physical dependence. Furthermore, withdrawal from the drug used occurs when its use is suddenly stopped and creates physical difficulties for the substance user. Chronic use of drugs leads to these detrimental physical effects. Although physical dependence does not necessarily create an addiction, it often accompanies it.
The Physical Effects of Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol vary due to the substance used, the duration of use, and the individualized withdrawal process. Fatigue, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, appetite issues, and sleep problems can all occur during withdrawal, dependent upon the substance used. Withdrawal occurs because the body is trying to offset the sudden absence of the drug previously and continuously ingested. Tolerance builds due to the body’s adjustment to the chronic use of the drug, while withdrawal occurs in reaction to the cessation of drug use.
The Connection Between Withdrawal, Tolerance, and Addiction
Although withdrawal and tolerance are defined differently, their connection to addiction is apparent. Using drugs and building up tolerance affects the brain psychologically, as well as the body physically. Drug withdrawal affects the sufferer both psychologically and physically, as evidenced by the symptoms, proving that addiction is not just one or the other. Addiction is a chronic disease, that affects the sufferer both physically and psychologically.
Addiction is a chronic disease that affects both the mind and the body, therefore impacting family, friends, work ethic, and many other aspects of life. Physical dependence and tolerance can lead to addiction, and withdrawal can be a hard thing to face alone. At Fort Worth Recovery, we offer a nurturing space to support clients through the withdrawal process safely. We seek to inspire clients to face their challenges, accept their present state, and foster hope for their future.