The Cycle of Addiction: Understanding the Disease

The cycle of dependence is complicated and very complex. There are a plethora of reasons why someone may become addicted. It may start off as innocuous. Maybe it is the person’s first drink when coming of age. You may also be addicted immediately when trying an illicit drug. The psychological dependence is the behavior development of the addiction. The definition of addiction is, “A disease that chronically affects the brain.” This is a curable disease. Alcohol detox is a common way to start on your journey to recovery. 

Triggers

There are two triggers that start the cycle of addiction and psychological dependence. These include pain triggers and social triggers.

Pain triggers: Pain is one of the triggers in the cycle of addiction and a cause in psychological dependence. These people are trying to find comfort from an injury. This can include a person trying to find comfort from depression and other mental health-related issues.

Social triggers: Trying to have a good time is another trigger in the cycle of addiction. This person likes adventure and wants to feel good.

Dependency or addiction does have psychological effects. Psychological dependence can start slow or develop over time, then finally turn into an addiction. There are different phases of addiction.

The cycle of addiction is complex. The cycle goes through several phases as an individual gets deeper and deeper into the addiction

Phases of Addiction and Psychological Dependency

The different phases of addiction and the phases of psychological dependence are:

Initial Use of a Substance

The initial use can start the road to psychological dependency. Different people have different reasons for starting a substance. Some of the factors on becoming psychologically dependent on drugs or alcohol are:

Abuse of a Substance

Regarding this cycle, abuse is the exploitation and misuse of the substance or alcohol. This basically means you are using the substance in a harmful way. The psychological dependence or abuse of alcohol can mean drinking alcohol more than on a social basis. Abuse of prescription medication is misusing the medication and taking more than prescribed by a doctor.

Instead of using the drugs for medicinal purposes, rather, they are using it to get the exhilaration experience from the substance. With very addictive substances, exploitation or abuse can occur the very first time someone uses this drug. You can become addicted from first use. The social acceptance of substances such as alcohol and tobacco make it easier to become addicted. These substances are accepted. When someone is taking a drug to self diagnose an issue, this can be a step towards psychological dependence.

Substance Tolerance

Tolerance is when your brain reaction condones the acceptance of the drugs and, in turn, needs a larger dose of the drug, alcohol, or substance. These effects can lead to a diminished chemical production of the brain. This leads to psychological dependence on the substance.

Substance Reliance

Reliance on a substance is when a person depends on that substance or alcohol to get through daily life. Taking certain illicit drugs for a prominent time-frame will leave a person without bliss or joy.

The dependency on certain medicinal drugs does not necessarily mean addiction. With certain prescribed drugs, it is important to have them for your body to function properly. However, you are not addicted to the drug, and your body relies on the drug so the body can function properly.  

Substance Addiction

Addiction has very distinct characteristics and is a mental health disorder. There are many treatment options for someone who abuses drugs and alcohol. Some of the characteristics of addiction are:

The treatment of alcohol use disorder or AUD is dependent on how severe the withdrawal manifestations are. There are times individuals have no need for medical treatment. However, there are times when medication is necessary. Most physicians use Benzodiazepines when withdrawal symptoms are problematic. The important aspect is to find a treatment that is right for you or a loved one.

People with harsher withdrawal symptoms, in many instances, may require a hospital stay. Often times with alcohol use disorders, a person’s nutrition is depleted. This may require supplements to get the nutrients needed into their bodies. In addition to supplements, a good diet is necessary. Good nutrition will help the body and mind heal.  

Substance Relapse

The cycle of addiction must be broken. It is not good for your body to quit and start again, quit and start again, and have a yo-yo effect. This goes for all addictions, whether it is food, drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Whatever the triggers are, they must be removed. There is not a one plan fits all to help everyone in the same manner. Not every treatment plan is for everyone. The important thing is to find the correct plan that fits the individual’s needs. By researching and talking to a professional, these two things will help you in the process of finding the right treatment for you.

Addiction Recovery  

A person may require several attempts to recover in the recovery process. The important thing is to find a treatment plan that fits you or a loved one’s needs. This will help on the road to sobriety. This is so the cycle of psychological dependency can be broken. The key is to find the right recovery program for you. 

Psychological Dependency

Psychological dependence is the behavioral aspect of dependency. The causal effect of addiction is psychological dependence. This is different from physical dependence. Physical dependence is not a contributory factor to addiction; it accompanies it. The symptoms manifest in a physical way. Some behaviors associated with psychological dependence are:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia 
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Poor judgment
  1. Appetite instability
  2. Loss of concentration
  3. A heightened passion for the substance
  4. A strong desire for the substance all of the time
  5. Concerns about not being able to stop the substance

Gender Role in Psychological Dependence

Gender plays a role in the addiction process. Studies have found females with substance addiction can have hormone-related issues and other female related issues. It is thought that females can use a lesser amount of the substance before they become addicted. In studies, it has also been shown; females succumb to cravings easier than males. Females are more likely to relapse after treatment. In addition to psychological dependence, females experience more physical effects, including issues with blood vessels and issues with the heart. Also, there are different changes in the brain in females who suffer from substance abuse versus males who suffer from substance abuse. Females are more anxious, and they have a deeper tendency toward depression.

If you or a loved one is in need of a detox or recovery program, contact us at Coastal Detox today. Come join us in our warm and comfortable environment.

References

https://www.asam.org/quality-practice/definition-of-addiction

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/there-difference-between-physical-dependence

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B. Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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