the Red Oak Recovery<sup>®</sup> wordmark in color

How to Treat Psychological Dependence

Experience clinician-run addiction treatment at Red Oak Recovery® in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains

Addiction isn’t a straight-forward thing. Not only does it manifest itself differently in each individual, but it’s also made up of both physiological and psychological dependence. When seeking treatment at a mental health treatment center in North Carolina, it is essential to question the intake staff on how they treat both aspects of the addiction. Treating the physiological dependence is usually the first step because it causes the most significant physical discomfort. Still, it is the psychological dependence that needs to be addressed over the long-term. When addressing psychological dependence treatment, Red Oak Recovery® in North Carolina is an excellent option.

psychological dependenceWhat Is Psychological Dependence?

Addiction is so severe because it causes changes in both your body and your brain. When you begin to get cravings for the substance, that is one of the signs of psychological dependence. Other symptoms that fall into the psychological area include:

  • Anxiety when the substance isn’t available
  • Feeling like you can’t function without the substance
  • Mood swings
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Cognitive issues

Your brain convinces you that you can’t make it without the substance. You worry about being strong enough to walk away. The physical symptoms of withdrawal from addiction disappear after a week. It is the psychological dependence that takes time and needs to be worked on.

How Physiological and Psychological Intertwine

If the physical and psychological components of addiction worked separately, it would be a lot easier to treat. This isn’t the case, however. When you first try a drug or alcohol, your brain releases endorphins that help you feel a certain way, usually happier or more clam. Maybe you then become more outgoing and confident. The substance itself doesn’t cause that confidence physically; it does so psychologically. The brain, however, starts to shut down its endorphin-creating mechanism. This means that to reach that point of calmness, you physically need the substance. Your psychological need for the feeling sends out craving signals that are only relieved by physically ingesting the substance. It becomes a never-ending circle until there is some intervention to break the cycle. Another example of how the physiological and psychological are intertwined is in the case of prescription pain killers. Your body is in physical pain. When you take the medication, the pain eases, but over time, you may need a higher dose of the medication to ease that pain. After a time, your body wants medicine, so your brain sends pain signals that may not be a real pain. You become scared that if you don’t have the medicine, you will suffer. That psychological aspect causes you to take more medication, which in turn eases the physical need. That is the reason why it is vital that a treatment plan must include psychological aspects.

Treating Psychological Dependence

Treating the psychological dependence is often done with a combination approach that focuses on both mind and body wellness. It can include treatments such as:

This is only a sampling of what can be used to treat psychological dependence. The idea is to help both your body and mind become stronger. It is also essential to find any underlying illnesses, such as depression, that could be adding to the wish to self-medicate.

Red Oak Recovery® Offers Hope

At Red Oak Recovery®, we offer the only true hybrid program to address the needs of our clients that have a psychological dependence. We combine both wilderness and a hospital setting so all aspects of you, the individual, can receive the best treatment for your specific needs. We combine traditional therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, with practices like yoga, to help clear the mind and strengthen the body. If you or a loved one is seeking an addiction treatment program, North Carolina offers Red Oak Recovery® to help get you back on track to a healthy, happy life. Contact us today at 866.457.7590.