This type of dependence is considered predictable and, in most cases, can be managed by medication. Other times, a tapering off of the drug may help with breaking dependence. Oftentimes, when people speak about dependence, it is this form they are talking about. The separate notions of physical dependence physiological dependence on alcohol and psychological dependence are artificial and represent a myth regarding addictive behaviors. This myth is actually detrimental to the understanding and treatment of any substance use disorder. In some cases, medications may also be prescribed to help manage psychological symptoms and cravings.

what is physiological dependence

Physical dependence

If a person stops drinking, they may experience changes in mood such as anxiety, depression, or irritability. Physical dependence, on the other hand, is when a person’s body adapts to chronic use of alcohol and results in physical symptoms—such as vomiting and diarrhea—when the person stops drinking. It’s true that psychological dependence and physical dependence are different concepts, but there are also some ways in which the two are connected and may lead to alcohol use disorder. Having physical symptoms after no longer taking drugs like benzodiazepines or alcohol indicates physical dependence. It means your brain and body have developed a reliance on these substances to maintain normal functioning. Seek medical assistance when dealing with physical withdrawal symptoms, as the severity may require medications and other treatments for a safe and comfortable recovery.

Treatment Process

Addiction is considered a brain disease because drugs and other addictive substances can change the structure and function of the brain, leading to long-lasting changes in behavior, decision-making, and self-control. The process of freeing the brain from the grip of drugs or alcohol can trigger adjustments that may initially disrupt its delicate equilibrium, resulting in mental disorders. The emergence and intensity of physical withdrawal symptoms are influenced by various factors unique to each individual. Contact us at The Recovery Village to learn more about our treatment programs for substance use disorder. Our trained staff will help walk you through how you can get started on the road to recovery today and what to expect during your experience. Physical dependence is a medical condition that is separate from addiction.

Signs That Tolerance or Dependence Have Crossed Over to Addiction

Addressing physical dependence begins with medical detox, which takes place under the care of physicians and nurses who ensure the safety and comfort of individuals during drug or alcohol detoxification. They monitor vital signs, provide necessary medical interventions, and prescribe research-backed medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, physiological dependencies are most commonly formed with prescription medication that is not abused by the patient.

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  • Within one to four days of discontinued use of Benzos, users may start experiencing insomnia and anxiety.
  • The diversity of drug receptors now forces a consideration of changes in the actual structure of the receptor molecule or changes in the distribution of these molecules on the surface of the neuron.
  • Dr. Fong, however, highlighted a significant contrast between gambling and addictive substances.

Fortunately, Volkow and her colleagues’ argument carried the day with the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 committee in 2013. People do not necessarily need to seek treatment for physical dependence. In most cases, people can manage their physical dependence by slowing tapering the drug instead of stopping it abruptly. Abruptly stopping this substance disrupts homeostasis, and the body must adapt to not having the drug in the body. Physical dependence usually develops as a result of repeatedly consuming a given substance over a period of time. Although researchers do not fully understand the precise mechanisms, it is possible that the substances cause changes to occur in the brain and central nervous system.

what is physiological dependence

Illicit drugs

Fortunately, there are various treatment options available for individuals struggling with physical and psychological dependence. The appropriate treatment approach will depend on the specific circumstances and needs of the individual. On the other hand, psychological dependence is characterized by emotional and behavioral changes surrounding the use of a substance. Individuals with psychological dependence may experience intense cravings and engage in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors despite negative consequences. The substance becomes a coping mechanism or a way to escape emotional distress. Unlike physical dependence, which primarily involves the body’s physiological response to a substance, psychological dependence is rooted in the mind and emotions.

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Unlike addiction, dependence does not necessarily involve difficulty controlling behavior. Addiction causes cravings, compulsive behavior, and changes in the brain. Although they may seem similar, addiction and dependence are distinct concepts. Technology has made gambling more accessible for compulsive gamblers, with people able to place wagers from their smartphones. Some people link their credit cards to digital gambling apps and can add money with a push of the “send” button. He noted that gambling that is rapid, or that allows you to place multiple bets at one time, tend to be very addicting as well.

Recovery is possible

Some estimates suggest approximately 90 percent of people recovering from opioid addiction and 75 percent of people recovering from alcohol addiction or other substance addictions will have symptoms of PAWS. When people use the term psychological addiction, they’re often talking about psychological dependence, not addiction. One of the most dramatic advances in drug abuse research has been the identification of the target of every major drug of abuse. The various drugs of abuse and their respective receptor types are given in Table 1. Therefore, psychological and physiological dependence should probably not be perceived as entirely separate entities, but rather two sides of the same coin.

Importance of Seeking Professional Help

what is physiological dependence

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