Recovery Matters

Mental Versus Physical Addiction: Understanding Addiction is the First Step to Ending it.

Mental Versus Physical Addiction

Addiction is a multi-faceted and complex disease. Oftentimes the term “addiction” is oversimplified, but in reality there are many types of addiction that often lay on a spectrum. One of the most important distinctions to make when considering addiction is whether the addiction is physical, psychological or a combination of both.

Physical addiction happens when your body develops dependency on a substance or drug. This dependency means that the cells of your body fail to function without it. This failure to function is reflected in withdrawal symptoms including headaches, vomiting or nausea. These symptoms are the body’s way of urging the addicted individual to use again to return to a functioning state.

Physical addiction causes pain that can often only be abated by another dose or another drink. Some drugs are said to be less physically addictive than others. For instance, ecstasy is less physically addictive for many compared to heroin or meth. Physical addiction is often treated through a process of detoxification.

Detoxification is a slow and gradual process. Often, physically addicted individuals cannot stop using cold turkey. Houghton House can help addicts create a program that slowly decreases usage so that they don’t feel withdrawal symptoms as strongly. Sometimes, other drugs are even used in substitution for stronger drugs.

Psychological addiction functions more in the mind of the addicted individual. Psychological addicts from all walks of life are consumed with thoughts of the next dose, drink or hit. Physical addiction is more intertwined with ideas of compulsion and desire. It is the feeling of not being able to live without something.

Often, detoxification doesn’t work fully for psychological addictions. The mind overpowers the body and the desire for another dose or drink is still there. Many doctors and therapists consider drug or alcohol rehab a more important step for those who are psychologically addicted. These programs allow recovering addicts to create and allow another way of thinking.

Skills and coping mechanisms that are cognitive are necessary for overcoming a psychological addiction. These tools are those that Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres supplies for patients.

However, it is important to note that psychological and physical addictions can often be tangled into each other. It is sometimes difficult for addicts to make distinctions between physical and mental needs.

Houghton House help addicts learn the exact type of addictions they are dealing with and thus how to successfully treat them. Understanding addiction is the first step to ending it.

For more information on our treatment options call +27 11 787 9142

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