When the body is deprived of the substance on which its balance-control mechanisms have come to depend, this causes problems for the individual. Most everyone is familiar the image of a pale-faced addict cowering in the feeble position. Physiological addiction is all too real. More of than not, however, the addiction runs much deeper, where it can’t be seen.
Components of Addiction
Addiction, according most literature, comes down to a combination of physiological and psychological dependence. We know that psychological addiction is powerful because it often exists without the presence of physiological dependence. Not only do low-risk drugs like marijuana cause problems for millions of people, so do innocuous-seeming behaviors like gambling or sex.
Addictions Without Chemicals
Some behavioral addictions are so common, we don’t even notice them. Sure, you use your phone just about every fifteen minutes; that’s normal, right? However, if you try leaving your smart-phone at home one day, you may notice yourself feeling uneasy, then unhappy, and then anxious. That’s emotional-withdrawal; you’ve grown accustomed to the instant-gratification—a video, a text message, a response of some forum—that you’re not only bored; you’re sad.
Same goes lots of relationships; we can be addicted to people, to how they make us feel, as well.
Understanding the Psychology
In the latest version the DSM (Diagnostic Manual for Mental Disorders), addiction is classified as a real mental disorder, characterized by a combination of both physical and psychological components. Both types of cravings are mediated by positive reinforcement, a form of operant condition, but of different forms. Addiction is compulsive, reward-seeking behavior that starts positively but eventually becomes negative in nature. At first, you’re abusing your outlet of choice because you like it. It makes you feel good. As your tolerance grows, however, your aim shifts, and you do what you do to feel normal.
Taking Both Sides Seriously
Neither aspect of an addiction, no matter how minute when compared to the other, is ever completely isolated. It’s important to take psychological addiction seriously, because it’s the life juice onto which genetic predisposing, the seed of addictive behavior, can grow and evolve. Recovering alcohols are at their most successful when they continue attending treatment even after they’ve been sober for weeks, months, or years. It’s not the alcohol itself that threatens them; it’s their own desire to drink—a sneaky, tricky desire.
After detox comes treatment, the road to emotional recovery. Give us a call: 949-407-9052