What is Psychological Addiction? Symptoms & Treatment

What is Psychological Addiction?

Symptoms and Treatment

Psychological addiction, also called mental or emotional addiction is the mental or emotional dependence on a particular addictive substance. It is a different component of substance use disorder which impacts an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. This blog outlines the symptoms and treatment of psychological addiction. We will also discuss what is psychological dependence and how it differs from psychological addiction.


Causes of Psychological Addiction

The primary sources of this type of addiction are trauma and related mental health issues. Its symptoms can be powerful cravings, compulsion to do drugs and social segregation.

Most people believe that psychological addiction and physical addiction are two sides of the same coin which is wrong. Yes, these two may have some aspects in common but they are not synonymous. Psychological addiction shows itself through altered thinking and behaviour patterns.

Therefore, healthcare experts should treat this illness by zeroing in on the psychological element to aid the patient on the path to healing.

Things that Psychological Addicts May Be Addicted to?

Substances that may cause psychological addiction can be alcohol, inhalants, opioids, cannabis, LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs and stimulants such as cocaine.

This is why, psychological addiction can be categorized into:

  • Psychological alcohol addiction
  • Psychological drug addiction

People with psychological alcohol addiction can’t possibly enjoy parties or solitary time without drinking. They employ it to run away from their emotions, and feelings or to grapple with mental wellness issues.

In the latter, a person uses illicit drugs and prescription medications such as opioids to the extent they become infatuated with them. They act in threatening ways or show a grumpy mood when not on them.

Psychological researchers theorize that risky conduct is where an individual consumes drugs as a way to run off from their circumstances, particularly if that contains negative affairs.

Reasons For Psychological Addiction?

Psychological addiction originates from trauma, peer pressure, mental health illnesses and an unhealthy atmosphere. In many situations, a fusion of several aspects contributes to psychological addiction.

Trauma is among the primary reasons for psychological addiction. Many studies have reported a link between drug use and emotional abuse. About 75% of people with SUD (substance use disorder) have been exposed to trauma once in their lives (Mills, Teesson, Ross, & Peters, 2006).

It should not come as a surprise that people with SUD often experience post-traumatic stress disorder. A person suffering from PTSD may get addicted to a substance in an attempt to manage their symptoms but addictions often worsen PTSD. Genetic factors may be responsible too.

Other aspects connected with psychological addiction are mental health conditions like ADHD, depression and anxiety. Also, peer pressure might motivate someone to do drugs and become addicted to them.

Symptoms of Psychological Addiction


It is characterized by a powerful urge to consume an addictive substance. This overpowering emotion may cause mood swings, sadness, frustration, rage and other feelings and actions that get removed once the individual begins taking the substance or drug again. Cravings amplify and aggravate addiction and its results.

Loss of Interest

Psychological dependence shows itself through not wanting to take part in activities such as those someone used to love. The person rather likes to ponder over or consume drugs. With an absence of enthusiasm, they become lonely and exacerbate their addiction.

Obsession with Substance or Drug

Someone becomes so infatuated with a specific substance or drug that they think they require it to conduct actions such as doing their job, sleeping or managing other parts of life. An addicted person also keeps thinking about the addictive agent, attaining it and scheming their entire life around it for long hours. As the infatuation thrives, so does physical dependence too. It causes the requirement for higher doses of the substance.



Denial is among the most intense signs of psychological addiction. It means an individual declines to accept the existence of an issue or shows anger when somebody mentions it. It makes an addicted person even more prone to the threats posed by addiction.

Cognitive Issues

Addiction to some substances may lead to issues with concentration, focus, memory, problem-solving skills and other elements of judgement. When that occurs, an individual utilizes the drug again to tackle these concerns and the circle of ferocity resumes.

What is Emotional Addiction Disorder?

It is a state where a person depends on some emotions or more precisely, on the chemicals generated by the brain when specific feelings are stimulated, which may be called “hit emotions”.

This chemical reaction to specific feelings provides our neurological system with an equivalent “reward.”

Definition of Psychological Dependence

It refers to the mental and emotional processes that are linked with the cultivation of and healing from, a process of addiction or a substance use disorder. But, cognition and emotion can’t be completely split from physiology.

Psychological dependence can be as grave as “physical dependence.”. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

How Psychological Dependence Differ from Psychological Addiction?

The difference between psychological dependence and psychological addiction is in the acuteness of the use of a drug/substance. Dependence doesn’t always demonstrate addiction but it comes with it.

Addiction is the irresistible desire to take drugs despite the repercussions they lead to and the helplessness to resist taking them even if an individual tries to do it. Dependence means developing forbearance and witnessing withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment Options for Psychological Addiction

Treatment options for psychological addiction revolve around the individual. The psychiatrist prescribes treatment based on the particular requirements of each person.

Tackling psychological addiction is more sophisticated than treating physical dependence which is pretty simple and involves detoxification and other methods.

In some individuals, psychological dependence can go away once physical addiction is treated but for many patients, it’s not sufficient. Detox doesn’t solve the root causes and stimulations behind drug use.

Therefore, combatting psychological addiction needs rehab and counselling or medicines for the treatment of hidden mental well-being issues.

What Treatment Options Does Rehabs Offer?

Rehabilitation centres provide outpatient and inpatient treatment methods. Inpatient treatments are essential to understand how to combat urges and prevent setbacks. During inpatient treatments which can go on for a maximum of three months, individuals get informed on psychological addiction, and counselling and receive relapse prevention schemes along with methods of dealings essential for a sober life.

Outpatient treatment suits patients with less acute addiction and people who finished inpatient treatment and require aid to keep clean. These also involve consistent therapy meetings along with support groups.


Psychological addiction can make someone’s life worse with symptoms like cravings, obsession with their drug, loss of interest, and even denial of a problem. If you or your loved one is addicted to substances or drugs, you should consult with a psychiatrist or therapist.