What is the Difference Between a Physical and Psychological Addiction?

video game addiction

The difference between physical dependence and emotional dependence is that physical dependence affects the body, while emotional dependence affects the mind. Addiction can impact a person cognitively, emotionally or both. For example, tolerance and withdrawal are physical aspects of addiction, whereas the compulsiveness to use drugs is mental. 

Here at CTRLCare Behavioral Health, we treat many different types of addictions, including gambling addiction, shopping addiction and technology addiction in New Jersey. These addictions tend to have very strong emotional ties. People use things like shopping and technology to escape reality and cope with negative emotions. 

Let’s learn more about the two types of dependence and how CTRLCare Behavioral Health can help with your recovery. 

Physical vs Psychological Dependence 

With a physical dependency, your body’s cells can’t function without the substance. Once drugs or alcohol are no longer in the body, painful withdrawal symptoms kick in. 

The quickest way to ease the pain is by taking more drugs, but this continues the cycle of abuse. Some common physical withdrawal symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, chills, body aches and tremors. A physical dependence can also cause trouble sleeping, gastrointestinal issues and seizures. 

A psychological dependence refers to the compulsion to keep using drugs or alcohol, or doing a behavior like shopping, gambling or gaming. A person might think they can’t fall asleep or get through their day without playing the slots, for example. 

In severe cases of psychological addiction, the thoughts become all-consuming. Common symptoms include not being able to stop the behavior, doing the behavior more often and obsessing about the behavior. Emotional symptoms also tend to last longer than physical symptoms. 

Treatment for Physical and Emotional Addiction 

When it comes to addiction recovery treatment in Princeton NJ, physical and psychological symptoms are treated differently but still alongside each other. Physical addiction is typically addressed through a medically supervised detox program. This usually lasts for several days or weeks. Once the detox portion of treatment is complete, the body is no longer physically dependent on the substance. 

Treatment for the psychological symptoms of addiction involves addressing the underlying reasons to use. This is done through therapy and education. It takes a lot longer to recover from psychological symptoms, sometimes months or years. Also included with this treatment are relapse prevention plans, coping techniques and support groups. 

Adult and Youth Addiction Treatment in Princeton NJ

CTRLCare Behavioral Health treats a wide range of behavioral disorders, including gambling addiction, technology addiction, shopping addiction, eating disorders and mental health disorders. We focus on treating the emotional aspects of addiction using behavioral therapies, music therapy, expressive arts and family systems therapy. 

We tailor our adult and youth treatment programs to each client’s needs. This ensures they can make positive changes and build healthy, balanced lives without any type of physical or psychological dependencies. To learn more about our addiction treatment services and how we can help you overcome them, contact CTRLCare Behavioral Health today.