What is the difference between psychological dependence and addiction?

Psychological Dependence refers to situations where there is no physical withdrawal, yet there is a compulsion to continue using a substance or carrying out an act. Sex “addiction” is a good example, as is the compulsion to eat sugar.

There is a wide gray area between PD and addiction. For example, some heavy users of marijuana suffer withdrawal when they stop using, which qualifies them as addicted. Others have no overt physical symptoms, but become psychologically disturbed.

As far as treatment is concerned, there is no real difference, apart from the possible need to detox from an addictive substance.

1 thought on “What is the difference between psychological dependence and addiction?

  1. Wildcat

    What amazes me is that, aside from a day’s worth of a severe hangover, I didn’t seem to suffer from any symptoms of physical withdrawal when I abruptly quit drinking. And I had been drinking for thirty-five years; heavily, indisputably alcoholically for the last five of those years.

    Crazier still, I’m not sure that any significant psychological dependence lingered. I have to believe that I’m simply one of the lucky ones. Maybe somewhere down in my core, inaccessible to my conscious, I was just done and none of the “PD” or the physical addiction could override that reality.

    Everyone’s nervous system is a bit different. I’ve known of similar cases, but they are extremely rare. Consider yourself lucky, blessed or whatever seems appropriate.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.