Author: Charles Frank

What Is Addiction? Definition, Signs, Treatment, and More

what is psychological addiction

This can create an unhealthy drive to seek more pleasure from the substance or activity and less from healthier activities. Alcohol use disorder is the most common substance addiction in the United States, followed by nicotine and marijuana. About 10% of people aged 12 or older in the U.S. have alcohol use disorder. A compulsion to continue the behavior despite consequences and efforts to stop makes behavioral change difficult, but not impossible. Treatments are available, including different types of therapy and lifestyle changes.

Of the people with a drug addiction, more than two-thirds also abuse alcohol. Charity Action on Addiction, 1 in 3 people in the world have an addiction of some kind. Many experience an increased risk for substance and alcohol use, mood disorders, and suicide. There’s not a single cause of addiction — it’s a very complex condition. A significant part of how addiction develops is through changes in your brain chemistry.

what is psychological addiction

And still others opt for clinical-based recovery through the services of credentialed professionals. Stopping some drugs then relapsing can heighten your risk of overdose, mental health problems, or other life-threatening medical complications, and should be done under medical supervision. If you are starting to think you might have an addiction, you have probably moved into the contemplation stage.

Addictions vs. Substance Use Disorders

This is a great time to find out more about the substance or behavior that you have been engaging in and to reflect honestly on whether you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of addiction. Addiction is a complex, chronic brain condition influenced by genes and the environment that is characterized by substance use or compulsive actions that continue despite harmful consequences. Experts believe that repeated and early exposure to addictive substances and behaviors play a significant role. Genetics also increase the likelihood of an addiction by about 50 percent, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. APA Services advocates for policies, programs, and funding to improve the prevention and treatment of opioid and other substance use disorders, including nonpharmacological interventions for pain management. Addiction can significantly impact your health, relationships and overall quality of life.

In most cases, though, working with a therapist is the best course for addressing psychological dependence, whether it occurs on its own or alongside physical dependence. You’re probably dealing with both a physical and psychological dependence in this case. When people use the term psychological addiction, they’re often talking about psychological dependence, not addiction.

what is psychological addiction

Knowing the warning signs can help you to tell the difference between a behavior you may feel particularly drawn towards, an increasingly problematic behavior, and a behavioral addiction. Behavioral addiction describes addictions to pursuits like gambling, social media, or sexual behavior, rather than to substance use that leads to dependency, like alcohol or nicotine. All addictions have the capacity to induce a sense of hopelessness and feelings of failure, as well as shame and guilt, but research documents that recovery is the rule rather than the exception. Individuals can achieve improved physical, psychological, and social functioning on their own—so-called natural recovery. Others benefit from the support of community or peer-based networks.

These symptoms can result in impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and tolerance/withdrawal. Researchers have long demonstrated the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in addiction and its effects on the brain’s reward center. As with other addictions, it plays a role in behavioral addictions like compulsive shopping or binge eating. While these substances are very different from each other, they all strongly activate the reward center of your brain and produce feelings of pleasure.

Video Game Addiction

When six or more symptoms are present, the condition is considered severe. Letting your friends, family, and those closest to you know about your treatment plan can help you keep on track and avoid triggers. The type of treatment a doctor recommends depends on the severity and stage of the addiction.

  1. While they both have some overlapping diagnostic symptoms, such as continued use despite consequences or lack of any benefit, there are also differences.
  2. Over time, addictions can seriously interfere with your daily life.
  3. There are a lot of terms involved that, while related, mean different things.
  4. Your brain and body’s reactions at early stages of addiction are different from reactions during the later stages.
  5. Experts believe that repeated and early exposure to addictive substances and behaviors play a significant role.

Someone with an addition won’t stop their behavior, even if they recognize the problems the addiction is causing. In some cases, they’ll also display a lack of control, like using more than intended. APA’s Division 28 promotes teaching, research, and dissemination of information regarding the effects of drugs on behavior. Psychological dependence just refers to the way that some people come to emotionally or mentally rely on a substance. If you or someone you care about may have an addiction, talk to your provider right away.

Sex Addiction

If you decide to skip the coffee one morning, you’ll probably have a pounding headache and feel generally crummy later in the day. Without treatment, addiction can cause serious health issues, even death. It can damage personal relationships, lead to financial difficulties and cause legal problems. Untreated addiction also harms family members, and the effects can last for generations.

Social media is not yet defined as a diagnosis and its effects are not fully known, but research has shown a clear association between social media use and other conditions including increased depression. Plastic surgery addiction can happen to anyone, but it’s much more typical in people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). People with BDD obsess over perceived flaws to the point of it negatively impacting their life. Many people fear the term addiction and believe it is an indication of failure or worthlessness. People with addictions often carry stigma about their behavior, leading to shame and fear of seeking help.

Environment and culture also play a role in how a person responds to a substance or behavior. A lack or disruption in a person’s social support system can lead to substance or behavioral addiction. Traumatic experiences that affect coping abilities can also lead to addictive behaviors. Behavioral addictions can occur with any activity that’s capable of stimulating your brain’s reward system. Rather than using the term “addiction,” the DSM-5 classifies substance use disorders. While the diagnostic criteria vary for each type, the DSM-5 describes these disorders as a problematic pattern of use of intoxicating substances that leads to significant impairment and distress.

If You Think You Might Have an Addiction

It’s crucial to seek help as soon as you develop signs of addiction. Like other compulsions, sex addiction can lead a person into situations that can threaten their relationships, career, and physical, mental, and sexual health. This article explains behavioral addiction, how it differs from substance addiction, signs to watch for, and what to do if you or someone you love has a behavioral addiction. Another distinguishing feature of addictions is that individuals continue to pursue the activity despite the physical or psychological harm it incurs, even if it the harm is exacerbated by repeated use. Typically, one’s tolerance to a substance increases as the body adapts to its presence.

Plastic Surgery Addiction

Your provider may want to do a physical exam and may request blood and urine tests. These tests give your provider information about your overall health. Over time, the substances or activities change your brain chemistry, and you become desensitized to their effects.

For many others, quitting can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, even with behaviors, and can open up uncomfortable feelings that were being soothed or suppressed by the addictive behavior. Once a person has decided that they have a problem and need help, the next step is an examination by a healthcare professional. This involves questions about behaviors or substance use, an examination to assess overall health, and the development of a treatment plan that works best for the individual’s specific addiction. The best approach typically involves working with a professional to either gradually taper off use or stop use altogether while under supervision to manage withdrawal symptoms. You can also experience both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Aside from gambling addiction, the following types of behavioral addictions are not listed in the DSM-5.