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The Difference between Physical and Mental Addiction

Mental and Physical Addiction

The Difference between Physical and Mental Addiction

June 3, 2016
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Addiction comes in all shapes and sizes. Some take a short period of time to recover from, while others require a more lengthy commitment. But the first step to recovery is always admitting that you have an addiction. The second step is getting help, and the third step is analyzing the addiction. Essentially that means figuring out what kind of addiction you have (Physical, Mental, or a mixture between the two). With a trained addiction counselor by your side, the more you understand the problem, the more tangible the solution becomes.

Physical Addiction

Physical Addiction can simply be defined as when one’s body becomes dependent on an additive substance. The body (against the person’s better wishes) reacts negatively to going long periods of time without the substance. These substances range from regulated painkillers to harmful methamphetamines. Obviously aspirin and caffeine are not as dangerous as illegal narcotics, but they all still induce a certain level of physical withdrawal. Cigarettes, coffee, and certain food products leave us feeling off whenever we don’t regularly use them. Cigarettes are definitely the worst of those. Many don’t want to smoke, but their bodies create a compulsion to do so anyway.

Mental Addiction

Then there are addictions that are much more nuanced. Mental Addictions are harder to spot. One of the most common of these is Obsessive Compulsion Disorder, which comforts the person by simple (often unrelated) actions in order to feel safe or on track in their day-to-day life. These range from something as simple as blowing twice on each of your hands. Others are as harmful as thinking that you are not a good person unless you do a certain amount of chores everyday. The withdrawals come in when someone decides to follow logic and stop their OCD actions. But despite logic saying otherwise, they still feel comforted by their compulsive actions. This is especially where mental addiction education is a much-needed relief for the patient.

Mixtures between the Two

The worst substances combine both a physical addiction with a mental addiction. These are common with narcotics such as Cocaine, which not only give off a physical high, but also give off a false sense of empowerment. When withdrawals come, there is not only the physical compulsion to regulate the body, but also thoughts of weakness or worthlessness begin to set in. This combined trouble seems impossible to overcome, but proper councilors and coaches understand these addictive mixtures best. It is through proper consulting and companionship, that both of these addictions can be confronted and overcome in their proper context.