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The Psychology of Addiction and The Roles It Plays

The Psychology of Addiction and The Roles It Plays

The Psychological Aspect of Addiction

The psychological aspect of addiction is very different from its physical aspects.

The physical side of drug and alcohol abuse has been studied for centuries, so there is an enormous amount of research surrounding the physical effects of substance abuse. The physical toll that addiction can have on a person is common knowledge; however, despite how debilitating substance abuse can be, people still engage in drug and alcohol abuse. Why? Our Chicago addiction treatment center knows that addiction has just as much to do with the mind as it does with the body, and that’s why we’re looking into the psychology behind addiction.

What Is Psychological Dependence?

The term “psychology” refers to behavioral processes that relate to mood, emotions, or the mind. Psychological dependence has to do with the emotional and mental processes that relate to the development and recovery from a substance abuse disorder or addiction. Our moods and behaviors take root in the mind. When you begin to use drugs or alcohol, the way you think and feel changes. Once a person becomes accustomed to experiencing certain thoughts and moods while high, their minds become just as addicted as their bodies. The psychological model of addiction is just as serious as physical dependency. The two do not exist separately from each other but are rather intertwined to create an overall addiction.

Our Illinois drug rehab offers cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on the psychology behind addiction by helping patients realize the emotions and thought patterns associated with their substance abuse disorder. CBT is one of the several addiction therapies we offer at Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago.

Addictive Side Effects Associated with Psychological Addiction

Emotion plays a big role in substance abuse. People may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with negative emotions, and they may associate certain positive emotions with these substances. Psychological dependence is largely referred to as the cognitive and emotional aspects of addiction or withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. Rather than the body’s physical change as a result of drug abuse, the psychological model of addiction is centered on emotions related to using these substances.

The most common psychological symptoms of addiction include:

  • Addiction cravings
  • Experiencing anxiety when they attempt to quit
  • Experiencing depression symptoms when they’re not using or trying to stop using
  • Feeling irritable when they’re not using or trying to quit
  • Mood swings associated with quitting or lack of drug use
  • Loss of appetite associated with not using or quitting
  • Denial of the addiction
  • Obsessing about using or obtaining the substance in question
  • Having trouble with decision-making when not using or trying to quit
  • Difficulties concentrating when not using or trying to quit

Because the psychological symptoms of addiction can’t be measured, it’s difficult to pinpoint their intensity. While we can’t determine a person’s subjective level of mental distress, we do know that drug addiction and alcoholism can cause severe psychological dependency.

Common Substances Linked to Psychological Dependence

Certain substances produce more and clearer symptoms of psychological dependence. As different as these substances can be from each other, they all share something in common: becoming dependent on them can wreak havoc on the user's life, relationships, and health.

Some of the most psychologically addictive drugs include:

  • Cocaine
  • Crack cocaine
  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • LSD
  • Mescaline
  • PCP
  • DMT
  • Psilocybin
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Cannabis (Marijuana)
  • Inhalants
  • Antidepressants

The Importance of a Comprehensive Addiction Program

Banyan acknowledges that addiction is a complicated interplay of many factors rather than just a problem of willpower. Substance misuse is significantly perpetuated by psychological aspects of addiction, including underlying mental health issues, unsolved traumas, and coping methods. Neglecting these psychological aspects might impede rehabilitation and cause relapses.

These programs attempt to establish a secure and encouraging environment that fosters personal development and self-discovery by taking a holistic approach. Individuals are better able to deal with life's obstacles without turning to addictive substances as they gain an understanding of their actions and learn healthy coping mechanisms. In addition to fostering long-term recovery, this strategy also builds a sense of empowerment and agency, instilling hope and optimism for a better, addiction-free future.

Treating the psychological factors of drug addiction and alcoholism is just as important as treating the physical ones. A thorough approach is required to treat it appropriately. Instead of only treating the symptoms, our Illinois addiction treatment programs examine the core causes of an individual's substance use disorder. By incorporating psychiatric therapies, counseling, support groups, and medical assistance, these programs target the root causes of addiction, allowing participants to develop more resilient coping mechanisms. All aspects of addiction are addressed, which encourages self-awareness and opens the door to long-lasting recovery. Individuals are then better able to understand their triggers, traumas, and cognitive patterns.

If you or someone you know is battling addiction, call Banyan Chicago at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our rehab center and our unique programs and therapies for addiction.

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Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.