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Physical Addiction vs. Mental Addiction

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Physical Addiction versus Mental Addiction
Physical vs. Mental Addiction


Physical vs. Mental Addiction: What’s the Difference?

As you probably know, no two addictions are alike, and all addictions can happen for various reasons. For example; in more recent news you've probably been reading about people's addiction to Fortnite. While some people may have a Fortnite addiction others may suffer from an addiction to alcohol or drug use. In either case, addiction can lead to long term consequences and as a result needs to be addressed.

In this article we will examine the difference between mental and physical addiction.

Mind vs Body Addiction

For those in the medical and rehabilitation fields, they understand that addiction can come in two forms; psychological and physical.

Psychological addiction occurs when a person does not have a physical need for a drug, but rather a mental desire for it. For example, marijuana, it is not addictive, especially when taken medicinally. Also it does not contain any physically addictive ingredients, but people who smoke marijuana can develop a mental desire for it.

In comparison to psychological addiction, physical addiction occurs when the brain adapts to the effects of a drug and develops tolerance. The user who abuses addictive drugs now has an issue with what they are using and that needs to be addressed.

Physical Addiction: What is it?

Physical addiction occurs when your body physically reacts to not having the drugs that it depends on. When an addict stops or lessens the intake of drugs, painful withdrawals kick in. Users think the easiest way is to ease the pain of withdrawal is to increase the dosage.

Some common physical addiction withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Tremors

  • Shakes

  • Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Body Aches

Psychological Addiction: What is it?

The definition of psychological addiction is a compulsion of the mind to drink or use based on the perceived need the substance fills.

A person addicted to marijuana often does not think they developed an addiction because they can physically go without using it. However their mind creates an extreme desire for it, like when they try to fall asleep or calm down.

Yet if this person does fall asleep without a drug, or make it through a social event without the use of it, the consequence of marijuana withdrawal won’t be as bad as with someone with physical addiction.

With severe psychological addiction cases, these thoughts become overwhelming. Without professional help, a psychological dependency can transform a drug into the most important thing in a person’s life.

Treating a Physical and Psychological Addiction

Treatments for these two withdrawals varies and happen at different times in a person’s recovery. In both cases, treatment it is still very much needed. Choosing to enter treatment for a physical or a psychological addiction is the first step in rebuilding a better sober life.

According to rehabilitation experts, treatment for physical addiction often includes medically supervised detox that may take days to weeks. When detoxing, the patient is slowly weaned off from their drug in order to avoid any harmful physical symptoms. Once the physical process is complete, what follows is the treatment for psychological addiction.

Detox helps you to purify your body of the drugs it once took, however, it does not tackle the hidden desire to use.

Inpatient treatment programs are recommended to help you fight the temptation to relapse. The education sessions, relapse prevention plans and coping techniques are acquired during the rehabilitation.

After the treatment is done, it is best to develop a support network that will become a great help to managing your addiction and recovery. It is very much advised to get available AA and NA meetings in your community and develop relationships with people who are also in the same situation and can provide contacts you can reach out to.

Whatever your addiction may be, once you have the right tools, you can overcome it and achieve freedom from substance abuse.

If you are fighting with drug or alcohol addiction and ready to recover your life. Call Recovery Blvd Treatment Center at 1-866-727-6339 for more information and assistance. You can also visit 1316 SE 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. Get help from the most premiere drug rehab facility in Oregon – servicing the Portland, Hillsboro, and Gresham, OR areas.

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