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How Is Psychological Alcohol Dependence Defined

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Getting Treatment For Addiction

Alcohol Dependence & Withdrawal

Those who have a physical dependence on a substance will likely be put into a medically supervised detoxification process at the beginning of their treatment program, which will help alleviate their withdrawal symptoms. From there, they move into addressing the underlying causes of their substance use, which is the psychological side of addiction.

Addiction does not have to control life any longer. 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.

In this case, addiction is demonstrated as both a mental, or psychological, and chemical, or physical, affect in the brain, thus providing evidence that addiction is both psychological and physical.

Not to mention, addictions are formed because they influence the part of the brain that controls pleasurable feelingsthose creating a strong desire to recreate the pleasurable feelings associated with substances. Every single drug affects dopamine levels in the brain, creating the reward response, or formed need to keep supplying it with the substance.

What Are The Symptoms Of An Alcoholic

There is absolutely no danger involved when a person who does not consume alcohol in order to escape or in order to relieve cravings realizes that his or her alcohol tolerance has increased. Even eating a heavy meal together with alcohol can increase tolerance, so tolerance in itself is not dangerous. The real signs of alcohol dependence do include alcohol tolerance, but only when that tolerance is manifested on a regular and dangerous basis. A whisky connoisseur who enjoys going to a club to sample new malts every month or so, and who consumes a few extra shots of a favorite single malt at each tasting event without any immediate effects, is not in any way at risk of much other than a possible hangover.

Alcohol dependency treatment aims to break alcohol dependence with both physical and psychological therapy. However, a professional who consistently leaves the office to grab a few drinks, or does not even admit that the reason he or she is often absent from the office more than once during the day is related to a consumption of alcohol, is clearly showing signs of dependency. The successful attorney who became accustomed to taking a shot or two of bourbon before an important case, but who has now progressed to drinking a pint of inexpensive vodka or gin before even the most routine hearing, is clearly in need of alcohol dependency treatment.

Common Drug And Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Physical addiction can develop more quickly in some individuals than in others, based on factors such as the substance being used, the amount being used, and on whether the substance is being injected, smoked, or taken orally. For instance, those injecting a potent, highly addictive substance like heroin on a regular basis can become physically addicted to the drug after a matter of days.

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Stage : Social Or Regular Use

The second stage of addiction involves increased usage that can begin to reflect dependency. Although some users will be able to regularly use drugs or alcohol without establishing dependent behaviors, this is the stage where the risk for abuse begins to increase. Regular use coupled with symptoms of physical addiction, risky behavior, and mood swings are a sign that addiction could be an issue. Users at this stage may feel shame or discomfort about their drug and alcohol use, but will often justify their behaviors in order to continue using.

How To Avoid Psychological Dependence On Alcohol

Chapters 11 and 12 life span development

If you have an urge to drink, try to recognise how you are feeling, to see if there is a connection.

It may also be triggered by the way you are feeling or something thats happening in your life.

Dont drink when youre in a bad state of mind. Try to find a way to feel better, before you have a drink. You could get some exercise or spend time with a hobby.

Face your feelings. You can try and avoid them, but they dont go away unless you face them and find a way to deal with them.

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The Most Addictive Drugs

Cocaine, heroin and nicotine are the most addictive drugs because of their psychoactive chemicals. is a stimulant like cocaine, and prescription pain meds are opiates like heroin. This makes these drugs highly addictive as well.

Those who are most at risk of developing psychological dependence also have a low tolerance for pain. They usually have a history of substance use as well.

How Addiction Affects The Brain

All of these drugs directly or indirectly affect the nervous system in the brain. They do this by promoting the release of dopamine to up to 10 times the normal level. This neurotransmitter controls emotion, feelings of pleasure, movement and motivation.

When the brain releases too much dopamine, it creates a euphoric state. As the drugs wear off, the dopamine levels fall. Artificially raising dopamine can desensitize the receptors that produce it after just one time of use. The reduction in dopamine levels ends the euphoric state and can lead to depression.

When this happens to users, they might start feeling empty. After a while, they become agitated, anxious and restless because all they can think about is reaching that high again. Once they take their drug of choice, they feel relaxed and secure. Although they may never feel that first euphoric state again, theyll keep seeking out the drugs to relax.

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Drug And Alcohol Dependence

Drug and alcohol dependency share many of the same characteristics. In fact, although alcohol is considered more socially acceptable than other drugs, it is still mind-altering and addictive. You can identify drug and alcohol dependence by watching for the following signs:

  • Obsessive drug and alcohol seeking behavior
  • Cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Anxiety and depression associated with cessation of drug or alcohol use
  • Irritability, restlessness, mood swings and insomnia associated with the cessation of drug and alcohol use
  • Uncertainty about whether the user can quit
  • Denial of a substance abuse problem
  • Cognitive impairment, including concentration, memory, decision-making, and problem solving

If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms of addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is important to seek assistance as soon as possible. The sooner addiction is treated, the better the long-term outcome for physical and psychological effects of addiction. Fortunately, there are a variety of resources and treatment methods available for individuals seeking to overcome addiction.

Drugs Associated With Physical And Psychological Dependence

Alcohol Dependence Syndrome | 2012

As mentioned earlier, not all drugs have been linked to physical dependence, but that doesnt mean psychological dependence cant develop. Some drugs that are typically associated with psychological dependence include:

  • Psilocybin magic mushrooms
  • Inhalants

Drugs that have a high component of physical dependence but may also be linked to psychological dependence include:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates

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Alcohol Dependence And Codependence

The presence of an addiction of some kind has long been held as a main secondary symptom of codependency. Other names for codependency are developmental trauma and complex PTSD.

There is indeed a lot of evidence that many individuals, who abuse or become dependent to any substance be it alcohol or illicit drugs, have often been exposed to previous trauma during their childhood or thereafter.

For example, a study of borderline personality disorder, a severe form of what many call codependence, in patients with recent deliberate self-harm in Hong Kong, found they were more likely to suffer from a current alcohol and substance use disorder Wong .

Also, research by Boriskin found that 25 to 50 percent of clients with a substance use disorder also meet the conditions for a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder .

Hence there is strong reason to conclude that a person who experienced repeated or prolonged trauma during their childhood is at greater risk of developing drug/alcohol abuse or dependence in adulthood.

Psychological Dependence Versus Physical Dependence Versus Addiction

When discussing substance abuse and addiction there is a lot of lingo that gets thrown around. Many terms are used interchangeably but they are not always used in the correct context. If youre concerned that a friend or family member has a problem with drugs or alcohol, its important to know the difference between physical and psychological dependence and how both of these factors can play into addiction.

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How Does It Compare To Physical Dependence

Physical dependence happens when your body starts to rely on a substance to function. When you stop using the substance, you experience physical symptoms of withdrawal. This can happen with or without psychological dependence.

This isnt always a negative thing, though. For example, some people have a dependence on their blood pressure medication.

To better illustrate, heres how the two might look on their own and together in the context of caffeine.

Alcohol Neuroadaptation And Reward

What Is Physiological Dependence On Alcohol

Alcohol, like other addictive drugs, stimulates release of the neurotransmitter dopamine from cells originating in a region of the brain called the ventral tegmental area . The VTA is a component of a neuronal circuit called the mesolimbic dopamine system that has been associated with behavioral motivation and reward. Following exposure to alcohol, dopamine released into the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex has been postulated to reinforce drinking behaviors or make the experience of drinking more salient. Recent reviews of the neurobiological literature have described evidence that neuronal plasticity and metaplasticity in the mesolimbic system can promote reward-based learning and the development of addiction. Whereas alcohol does not appear to selectively bind dopamine receptors, its effects on dopamine release are likely mediated through interactions with other neurotransmitter systems, such as glutamate, GABA, corticotropin-releasing factor, and 5-HT, as well as through interactions with the endogenous opioid system .

Pharmacologic strategies to reduce drinking in patients with AUD may attempt to correct the imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory pathways, and relieve the intense craving for alcohol brought about by neuroadaptation. Alternatively, compounds that target reward pathways may compensate for the plasticity in dopamine signaling that enhances the drinking experience of patients with AUD.

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Being At Risk Of Becoming Dependent On Alcohol

You may be using alcohol to try to solve a problem. If so, you are at risk of becoming psychologically dependent on alcohol.

Examples of being psychologically dependent on alcohol

  • Alcohol is your normal way of coping with a difficult time.
  • You find it hard to socialise or enjoy yourself without alcohol.
  • You use alcohol to avoid being upset by negative feelings.
  • You use alcohol to cope with depression, anxiety or other mental health problems.

If you are worried about your alcohol use, take our alcohol test to find out what type of drinker you are.

We Stand For Equality

Amatus stands in solidarity with all of the people across the globe mourning the death of George Floyd and countless others who lost their lives unnecessarily. We are outraged and heartbroken. We support those fighting to combat hate, discrimination, and unfair treatment of our fellow humans. We stand with our staff, our clients, and all those who live in legitimate fear that they and their loved ones may be targeted based on race. We empathize with the anxiety, fatigue, and frustration of the African American community. We acknowledge that these lives matter.

Racism infiltrates every aspect of our lives. We would be remiss not to mention how it impacts the addiction community. Spurred on by The War on Drugs, African Americans and other people of color are often incarcerated for similar practices for which the white population receives treatment.

Nearly 80% of people in federal prison for drug crimes are black and brown people. This is why Amatus supports Drug Abuse Response Team , a program that connects people willing to enter addiction treatment to resources and help to minimize jail time.

We take a knee with those who fight oppression and who demand to make our country a more perfect union.

To a brighter future, upward and onward.

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The Notion Of Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Psychological withdrawal symptoms represent a form of symptomatology that primarily involves emotional and motivational features. These symptoms include depression, anxiety, reduced motivation, difficulties experiencing pleasure, apathy, and even more serious symptoms, such as the development of hallucinations and delusions. The process that is believed to contribute to the presentation of withdrawal symptoms that are primarily emotional or psychological in nature is believed to be related to a form of learning known as operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning represents the notion of learning via reinforcement that affects the probability of an individual repeating certain behaviors. In the process of developing a substance use disorder, individuals experience a number of reinforcing effects associated with drug use that increases the probability that they will continue to repeat using the drug. Essentially, reinforcement is broken down into two major processes:

Treatment For Both Physical And Psychological Addiction At Gateway

Addiction 1a: A Level AQA: physical & psychological dependence & addiction

When it comes to treating addiction, you need to find an addiction treatment program that addresses both the physical and psychological components of this disease. At Gateway, we offer evidence-based treatment that we tailor to your exact needs, depending on the severity of your addiction.

We will help manage the physical effects of addiction through medically supervised detoxification. As we help you wean off drugs or alcohol, we address painful withdrawal symptoms and ensure your safety throughout this challenging process.

Once you are free from the physical component of this disease, we target the physicological side effects of addiction. Many underlying issues contribute to addiction. During your personalized therapy sessions, we help you develop coping techniques, so you are empowered to live a sober life. Even after your time with us is over, our alumni services ensure you stay on the road to recovery.

Whether you struggle with physical or psychological addiction or both, we help you learn the tools you need to overcome at Gateway. Contact us today to find out more.

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Alcohol Dependence And Withdrawal

Common signs of alcohol addiction, the physical and psychological effects and where to go for help.

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For some people alcohol can be part of many occasions but like many drugs its addictive, both physically and psychologically.

The NHS estimates that around 9% of men in the UK and 3% of UK women show signs of alcohol dependence1. This means that drinking alcohol becomes an important, or sometimes the most important, factor in their life and they feel theyre unable to function without it.

Treatments For Physical Addiction

When it comes to treating your addiction, the physical aspects are often treated separately from the psychological ones, even though they go hand in hand. When you decide to begin treatment, you need to get through a medically supervised detox in order to minimize any potential dangers of withdrawal and to address the physical aspects of your addiction.

This physical withdrawal usually lasts between a few days, a week, or perhaps longer depending on the drug type, how long youve been taking it, and usage amount.

When you participate in the detoxification services at 12 Keys, youll be slowly weaned off the substance youre addicted to, to minimize any negative physical withdrawal symptoms and to ensure that your detoxification is medically supervised.

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Alcoholism And Mental Health

The link between mental health and alcohol abuse should not come as a surprise. Dozens of studies can prove that alcohol holds influence on the brain by changing its chemistry. It is only a matter of time before one develops a mental illness from excessive drinking.

Regions of the brain are affected by drinking spirits. Initially, it triggers a sense of pleasure by stimulating the mesolimbic pathway also known as the reward pathway and releasing dopamine. This can eventually turn into an addiction. The hippocampus in the mesolimbic system can trigger fear and anxiety due to lack of motivation. This substance impedes the continuous growth of new brain cells.

Brain mass is also reduced for a drunkard. The decrease in the number of neurons along the prefrontal cortex can lead to changes in emotions and personality.

How To Reduce Your Risk Of Becoming Alcohol Dependent

What is Alcohol Detox?

Taking regular breaks from alcohol is the best way to lower your risk of becoming dependent on it. If you drink regularly, your body builds up a tolerance to alcohol. Tolerance is a physiological response we have to any drug: the more you consume, the more your body needs to have the same effect. Regular drinking induces certain enzymes in your liver that break up alcohol. If you drink heavily over weeks or months, levels of these enzymes go up, your tolerance builds and you need more alcohol to get the same effects 3.

Brain systems get tolerant to alcohol too, and although you may be able to walk a straight line after drinking quite a lot, this means the brain has adapted so that next day the brain cells expect alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and jitteriness occur, and you can find yourself drinking alcohol just to relieve that.

When youre drinking most days you can become psychologically dependent on alcohol too.

Breaking your drinking cycle is an important way to test for and tackle this kind of dependence. It can prevent your body from becoming accustomed to alcohol and help to lower or reset your tolerance.

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Chasing The Positive Feeling

If you drink heavily over a period of time, the brains chemistry adjusts to the effects of alcohol.

You may start to rely on alcohol to relieve negative feelings or deal with problems.

You might need to drink more and more to get the desired positive effect. As you drink more, the risk of becoming dependent increases.

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