psychological and physical dependence
Nov 24, 2004
What is the difference between psychological and physical dependence?
Response from Dr. Conway
This is a very complicated (although simple) question. Physical dependence on a drug (recreational or not) means the body gets used to the drug, it needs more and more of it to accomplish the same effect. Eventually, the drug is merely used to counteract the withdrawal symptoms that appear when no drugs are being taken.
Mental/psychological dependence means somebody can't feel comfortable/relaxed anymore without the drug. This mechanism has nothing to do with the body, but with feelings of fear, pain, shame, guilt, loneliness and so on. The drug is used to forget problems which should be solved. Because of certain backgrounds (homeless, (sexually) abused, lonely) some people are more likely to get mentally dependent on drugs.
Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS
This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.
Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.