Is Addiction Physical Or Psychological?

Woman discussing Tramadol Addiction Treatment

There has long been debate over whether addiction is driven by physical or psychological factors. However, almost all recent research shows that addiction actually has emotional, mental and physical dimensions.

Biological, Psychological and Behavioral Factors of Addiction

From a biological standpoint, there is definitely a genetic component to addiction. Some individuals are more likely to become addicted than others because of their genetic background. Other biological factors that can contribute to addiction include brain chemistry and even brain structure.

Yet, even if someone has a high predisposition toward addiction, they will not become an addict until they actually use drugs or alcohol. This is where psychology plays a part. Environmental factors such as family structure, friends, economic factors and stress can all make one person more likely to become addicted than another. Addiction can be a learned, unhealthy behavior in response to environmental factors.

As well, there is evidence that some people may have addictive personalities which puts them at a higher risk of addiction. Often, there are obvious signs of this such as problems with emotional regulation and impulse control.

Treating the Body and Mind

Just as there are many issues related to addiction, recovery is also multi-faceted. For many individuals, an underlying mental condition is a factor in the addiction. Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often go hand-in-hand with addiction.

It is estimated that 50% of individuals suffering from mental illness also struggle with substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol are commonly used by individuals who try and self-medicate to numb the overwhelming symptoms of their illness. This can lead to a self-propelling cycle that ultimately leads to addiction.

To support successful recovery, it’s vitally important that treatment is focused on healing the body and mind. Treating addiction and mental illness needs to happen simultaneously because they are intertwined. Holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation, exercise, nutrition, and stress management are also important in long-term recovery. As well, therapy and relapse prevention is required.

Getting Help for Addiction and Mental Illness

Because the causes of addiction are complex, professional treatment is required. At Serenity at Summit, we have programs that specialize in dual diagnosis treatment.

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