What is The Difference Between Physical and Psychological Dependence (2023)

The difference between physical dependence versus psychological dependence is physical dependence affects your body and psychological dependence affects your behavior.

Depending on the addiction, it was previously thought to be either one or the other. In actuality, addiction is both physical and psychological. Here at Sana Lake Kansas City Rehab, we have a great detox program that will help you and your body recover physically and psychologically.

Yes, there is a difference between physical dependence versus psychological dependence. Physical dependence is considered tolerance and withdrawal. Psychological dependence is the dependence on the drugs or the substance of choice.

Physical Dependence

Physical addiction dependence versus psychological addiction dependence has some clear distinctions. Physical addiction manifests itself in a physical way affecting the body. Physical addiction dependency is chemical level changes in the brain that are changed by the addictive chemicals in the drugs. In time, drugs change the chemistry of the brain.

Physical addictive dependence can include withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Lack of sleep
  • Gastro-Abdominal issues
  • Trembling
  • Seizures


Depression is a symptom of withdrawal. Depression or a doubtful attitude can be problematic when trying to go to recovery to get help. Having a moody disposition is also a symptom of withdrawal. This is a physical common addictive dependency versus a psychological dependency.


Angry outbursts are another symptom of a physical addictive dependency versus psychological addictive dependency. Angry outbursts can be caused by frustration when the person is feeling helpless and they feel the substance they are on is too strong to overcome. The user would need to get professional help to deal with sobriety and help with the angry outbursts.

Lack of sleep

Insomnia or lack of sleep is another physical addictive dependency attribute versus the psychological dependency attribute. Insomnia can lead to other health problems. Sleep is important to maintain a healthy life.

(Video) Differences Between Physical and Psychological Addictions | Psychology of Addiction | Detox to Rehab

Gastro-abdominal issues

In physical dependence, gastro-abdominal issues can occur. Constipation and diarrhea are two effects that physically manifest themselves. Having diarrhea can cause dehydration which can lead to other health problems.


When being asked, the difference between physical dependence versus psychological dependence, trembling might come up as a symptom of physical dependence. Trembling is uncontrolled shaking. One cause of trembling is substance abuse. This is a physical addictive dependence attribute.


Seizures are a physical dependence withdrawal symptom. If you or a loved one are having seizures, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Seizures are sudden and uncontrolled actions disturbing the brain wave pattern.

Even less problematic discomforts, such as sweating and teary eyes, are both attributes of physical addictive dependence versus psychological addictive dependence.

It was once imagined in the community that substances like marijuana or nicotine were not physically addictive. That thought process was because there were no withdrawal symptoms. This is just not the case. Symptoms like lethargy, gloominess, fits of anger, trouble sleeping and difficulty eating patterns are all real symptoms. They are all symptoms of withdrawal and associated with these substances.

Psychological Dependence

Psychological dependence versus physical dependence is the way one behaves. Some psychological dependencies are:

  • Not capable of stopping drug usage
  • Abusing drugs even when health problems arise
  • Using narcotics to deal with life’s problems
  • Obsession
  • Taking a gamble
  • Taking larger doses

Not Capable of Stopping Drug Usage

Not being able to stop drug usage is a common symptom of psychological dependency versus physical dependency. This is a behavior that is symptomatic of psychological dependency. You and your body are dependent on that substance.

Abusing Drugs Even When Health Problems Arise

The inability to stop using drugs even after health problems arise is another symptom of psychological dependency versus physical dependency. Here at Sana Lake, we offer several programs that can help each patient individually. One such program is our Partial Hospitalization program.

(Video) Physical and Psychological Dependencies Explained

Using Narcotics to Cope With Life’s Problems

When someone uses narcotics to cope with life’s problems, it is a symptom of psychological dependence rather than physical dependence. When someone is using narcotics to deal with life’s general ups and downs there is a dependency on that drug. This proves to be an unhealthy relationship between the substance and the person.


Obsession is a form of psychological dependency. Obsession is when someone is infatuated with the substance they are using. In this situation, the only thing that matters is getting the substance and using the substance. This can lead a person to do things they would not normally do.

Taking a Gamble

Drug use can make you take a gamble in life’s decisions. This is a symptom of psychological dependency versus physical dependency. Taking a gamble means doing things that you would not normally do. These risks can include trading sexual favors for the substance and even stealing to get your substance.

Taking Larger Doses

Taking larger doses of a drug or substance is an effect of psychological dependence, not physical dependence. Once your brain is used to the effects of the substance of choice, it requires the person to take larger and larger doses to get the same initial effect. This causes intensified withdrawal symptoms.

There is also an overlapping of symptoms of psychological effects and physical effects. An example of one of these effects of overlapping symptoms is to redirect your food budget to buy the substance in question, which is a psychological effect. However, by doing this, you are unable to consume enough nutrients which in turn is a physical effect.

Social Symptoms

Addiction can cause various adverse social symptoms. Some of these social symptoms are:

  • Forfeiting activities
  • Discarding hobbies
  • Solitude
  • Denial
  • Excessive consumption
  • Having stashes
  • Legal issues
  • Financial difficulties

Forfeiting Activities

When you forfeit activities that were usually enjoyed before drug use, it is an implication of the social symptoms of an addict. These activities or events, that previously brought joy, are now looked sourly upon due to the substance not being available.

Discarding Hobbies

When hobbies like boating, fishing or crafting no longer have a place in your life as it did before, it is a sign of dependence on substance abuse. When drugs take over and they are more important than hobbies previously enjoyed this is a social implication of dependency.

(Video) What Is The Difference Between Psychological And Physical Dependence - Call 1(800) 615-1067


The desire to be alone is another social symptom of addiction. The reason for wanting to be alone can be because of shame or just the substance taking over one’s life. To combat addiction, it would be helpful to have loved ones help you overcome and be a part of your recovery life.


Refusing to believe there is an addiction problem is another social addict symptom. Believing the person can relinquish the substance at any time is another social symptom of an addict. This may cause a reluctance to get help.

Excessive Consumption and Having Private Stashes

Consuming the drug or alcohol at an excessive level is a social symptom of an addict. This can lead to hiding private stashes for later use. This is a dependency on a substance that is being abused.

Legal Issues

Incarceration and legal issues are signs of the social effect of an addict. When analyzing whether or not legal issues caused by substance abuse is a psychological dependency versus a physical dependency, evidence suggests it is a symptom of psychological dependency. They need to do something illegal to get the substance of choice is a psychological dependence of that substance.

Financial Issues

When drugs and alcohol take over and you need more and more of the substance, this will cause financial difficulties. This can happen when drugs are more important than other things in your life. You need to buy more and more drugs, leaving you with less and less money for life’s essentials.

Combating Symptoms of Withdrawals

Whether you are facing a physical dependence or psychological dependence, self-soothing is a great way to help combat withdrawals. A great way to self-soothe is by exercising. Exercising is a great way to get your mind off narcotics and it helps release endorphins throughout your body. Talking to a professional or even a friend is another way to help combat withdrawals.

Talking and expressing oneself is a great way to help ease pain both physically and psychologically. Taking either a cold or warm bath is another way to ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms by soothing the discomforts of sweating or chills.

Sleeping is another way to ease the pain. Sleep deprivation is another symptom of substance abuse. Getting the rest your body needs can help heal and recuperate your body.

(Video) Physical dependence - Intro to Psychology

Contact Us

If you or a loved one are going through any of these conditions, do not go through it alone. Feel free to contact us at Sana Lake Recovery Center for all your recovery needs.

Sana Lake

Sana Lake Recovery Centeris a Joint Commission Accredited addiction treatment program. We offer a safe and trustworthy facility for people struggling with substance abuse.

(Video) Difference between Phsychological drug Dependence and physical drug dependence, (Pharmacy lecture)


What is the difference between psychological dependence and physical dependence quizlet? ›

What is the difference between physical dependence and psychological dependence? Physical dependence is when a person has a chemical need for the drug. Psychological dependence is when the person believes that they need the drug to feel good.

What is the difference between psychological dependance and physical dependance? ›

Psychological dependence is associated with numerous emotional and cognitive symptoms, whereas physical dependence is typically associated with the development of tolerance and withdrawal symptoms that are not primarily emotional or cognitive in nature.

What is the difference between physical and psychology? ›

Physiological relates to the physical and chemical processes of the body, and may be used to describe physical diseases or disorders. Psychological relates to the processes of the mind, and may be used to describe mental illnesses.

What is physical dependence in psychology? ›

A condition in which a person takes a drug over time, and unpleasant physical symptoms occur if the drug is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses.

What is psychological dependence quizlet? ›

Define psychological dependence. A compulsion to continue taking a drug because its use is rewarding.

What is a physiological dependence quizlet? ›

Physiological Dependence. The user/abuser develops a dependence on the drug and must maintain intake in order to prevent physical side effects, such as withdrawal symptoms.

What is the difference between physical and physiological? ›

While physical and physiological both refer to bodies, physical means the body itself while physiological refers to the body's functions.

What is the difference between physical and psychological addiction brainly? ›

Physical dependence is considered tolerance and withdrawal. Psychological dependence is the dependence on the drugs or the substance of choice.

What is an example of dependence in psychology? ›

One example of psychological dependence is the associations your brain makes with people, places, and things tied to alcohol and drug addiction. Research shows the addicted brain develops strong links between substance use and: Where you use substances. Who you use them with.

What is the difference between physical and psychological development? ›

Physical development involves growth and changes in the body and brain, the senses, motor skills, and health and wellness. Cognitive development involves learning, attention, memory, language, thinking, reasoning, and creativity. Psychosocial development involves emotions, personality, and social relationships.

What is the difference between psychological and physical stress? ›

While physiological stress activates a motoric fight-or-flight reaction, during psychosocial stress attention is shifted towards emotion regulation and goal-directed behavior, and reward processing is reduced.

Which is the best description of physiological dependence? ›

Physiological dependence is when your body becomes used to a substance and has trouble functioning without it. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. If you're struggling to quit, reach out for help from a medical professional or an addiction treatment program.

What is another word for psychological dependence? ›

Psychological dependence (addiction) on information technology (IT), such as the internet and mobile phones--also referred to as habituation--is characterized by excessive use and an intermittent craving for IT-related activities.

Which of the following is an example of psychological dependence quizlet? ›

Which of the following is an example of psychological dependence? Using stimulant drugs to feel more self-confident.

When does psychological dependence occur? ›

Psychological dependence is caused by consistent and frequent exposure to a drug or behavioural activity. It is often associated with effects of drug use, but it can also be caused by behavioural activity e.g. pornography.

What is psychological quizlet? ›

The scientific study of behavior and mental processes.

What are examples of physiological needs quizlet? ›

Examples of Biological and Physiological needs: air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

What substance is most likely to cause physical and psychological dependence? ›

Narcotics. Narcotics (including heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, and others) have a high potential for both physical and psychological dependence as well as resulting in increased tolerance.

whAT is the difference between physical and physiological barriers? ›

whAT IS the difference between physical and physiological barriers of innate immunity? Physical barriers of innate immunity: They protect from outside. Physiological barrier of innate immunity: They provide protection from inside.

whAT is the difference between physical and psychological measurement? ›

Difference between physical and mental measurement

In physical measurements units of measures are constant and measures are express d in equal unit and starts from a true zero. On the other hand in mental measurement, measures are generally not express d in equal units and it is not possible to measure from zero.

whAT is an example of psychological? ›

If you think about it for a moment, some common examples of psychology in everyday life are when you: smile to portray warmth and approachability. use body language to attract or repel advances. appeal to people's vanity and self-indulgence to get what you want.

What is the difference between mental and psychological health? ›

Psychological health, aka mental health, is defined as a person's emotional and or psychological wellbeing. The psychological health definition and mental health definition go hand in hand in that they both involve the emotional, behavioral, and social health aspects of a person's life.

Is drug dependence the state of physical and psychological? ›

Drug dependence is defined as a psychic and physical state of the person characterized by behavioral and other responses resulting in compulsions to take a drug, on a continuous or periodic basis in order to experience its psychic effect and at times to avoid the discomfort of its absence.

What is the difference between mental and psychological? ›

Your psychology is your conscious emotions, fears, and personality. Your mental state is your analytic thoughts, beliefs, and willful visualizations.

What does psychological dependence on a substance typically include? ›

The general symptoms of psychological dependence include: Cravings. Triggering anxiety when attempting to stop drug use. Triggering depression when not under the influence of drug use.

What is the psychological impact of dependency? ›

Psychological dependence is an emotional state caused by how chemicals affect the brain. A person's emotional behavior changes, resulting in mood swings, feelings of irritability, and depression. Physical dependence occurs when the body has become dependent on a substance.

What are the two types of drug dependence? ›

"Substance dependence", as defined in the DSM-IV, can be diagnosed with physiological dependence, evidence of tolerance or withdrawal, or without physiological dependence.

What is psychological development in simple words? ›

psychological development, the development of human beings' cognitive, emotional, intellectual, and social capabilities and functioning over the course of a normal life span, from infancy through old age. It is the subject matter of the discipline known as developmental psychology.

What is the difference between physical and psychosocial environment? ›

There is difference between physical environment and psychological environment. Physical environment is the one which has physical existence like house, tree, mountain etc. On the other hand, psychological environment consists of all that exists in one' s mind.

What is the relationship between psychological stress and physical health? ›

Chronic stress, or a constant stress experienced over a prolonged period of time, can contribute to long-term problems for heart and blood vessels. The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and the elevated levels of stress hormones and of blood pressure, can take a toll on the body.

What is psychological stress? ›

Stress—also known as psychological stress—describes what people experience when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. Stressors—factors that can cause stress—can arise from people's daily responsibilities and routines, including work, family, and finances.

What is an example of physical dependence? ›

If you experience physical symptoms when you stop taking drugs or alcohol, you have a physical dependence. When you have a physical dependence on drugs or alcohol, your brain and body have come to rely on them to function. That's why when you go without these substances, you experience physical withdrawal symptoms.

What is the best definition of dependence? ›

or de·pend·ance

the state of relying on or needing someone or something for aid, support, or the like. reliance; confidence; trust: Her complete reliability earned her our dependence.

What is another term for physical dependence on a drug? ›

addiction – a biopsychosocial disorder characterized by persistent use of drugs (including alcohol) despite substantial harm and adverse consequences.

Which of the following is an example of a psychological need? ›

Some examples of psychological needs include achievement, self-esteem, a sense of belonging, and social approval. Both psychological and biological needs motivate people to accomplish goals.

What would be an example of a drug that causes psychological dependence? ›

Substances that can create psychological dependence include marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Some psychoactive substances don't cause physical dependency, but regular use can cause psychological dependency to occur.

Which of the following describes psychological dependence? ›

Psychological dependence is a term that describes the emotional or mental components of substance use disorder, such as strong cravings for the substance or behavior and difficulty thinking about anything else.

What is an example of psychological dependence? ›

One example of psychological dependence is the associations your brain makes with people, places, and things tied to alcohol and drug addiction. Research shows the addicted brain develops strong links between substance use and: Where you use substances. Who you use them with.


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