Addiction is often thought of as a physical disease, but it’s primarily a mental health disorder. Although there are some physical side effects of addiction, the underlying issues are almost always psychological. When you’re trying to recognize and classify a dependence on drugs or alcohol, be on the lookout for these psychological addiction symptoms.
When most people think of cravings, they picture the desire for substances like coffee, water, or pizza. However, a craving for drugs or alcohol is similar, but it can become overwhelming.
Think about the last time you were truly thirsty. For example, perhaps it was at the end of a long hike during the summer, or maybe it was after a day at the beach. If you were really thirsty, it would be almost impossible to think about anything else. In fact, the thought of a cold drink would be the only thing on your mind.
For people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the cravings can be similar. The number one objective is to access and use the preferred substance. Everything else, which might include work, school, food or relationships, become less important than fulfilling that craving. Moreover, a craving for addictive substances usually won’t end until the individual uses the substance or completes addiction treatment.
Anxiety or Depression
Psychological addiction symptoms often include a worsening of mental health conditions. Furthermore, substance abuse can create new symptoms altogether. The presence of paranoia, anxiety, or depression are some of the most common psychological addiction symptoms that you should be aware of.
Sometimes, these mental health conditions appear because of substance abuse. Using drugs, for example, can cause people to avoid social settings. Being withdrawn, not eating a healthy diet, or losing a job can certainly contribute to anxiety or depression. Sadly, all of those events can happen as a result of substance abuse.
It’s also important to note that substance abuse can develop because of conditions like depression and anxiety. Therefore, if these conditions aren’t accurately diagnosed or treated, individuals might turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Typically, that only worsens a user’s psychological state.
Irritability and Restless
Struggling with an addiction can also make users irritable. If you’re trying to spot an addiction, this might be one clear symptom. Specifically, addiction is not glamorous, exciting, or fun. Instead, those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can be suffering from restlessness, a lack of pleasure, and irritability.
Drugs or alcohol may be the only source of joy in life once an addiction has developed. When a person isn’t using their preferred substance, they can appear sullen and moody. Drastic mood swings are common, and some individuals are even prone to violent and unexplained outbursts.
Denials or Justifications
Another common psychological addiction symptom is denying that a problem exists. In addition, many people who struggle with substance abuse try to hide that abuse. They may also go to extreme lengths to say their use isn’t problematic. This is as much a denial for you as it is for them.
You might also notice justifications for use. A person who struggles with chronic pain might explain away their long-term use of opioid painkillers. Someone who has difficulty falling asleep at night might note the use of certain drugs is only to improve sleep. Furthermore, alcohol abuse is often justified as a way to unwind or relax.
Of course, these denials and justifications are rarely truthful. Instead, they showcase that a person needs support on their journey to recovery.
Ending Psychological Addiction Symptoms
It’s nearly impossible to separate a physical addiction and a psychological addiction. Substance abuse disorders are a combination of both, which means that recovery needs to include comprehensive care. At Ashley Addiction Treatment, clients can expect varied and customized treatment methods that include all of the following:
- Gender-specific paths
- Group therapy program
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Holistic care
At Ashley Addiction Treatment in Havre de Grace, Maryland, you can embark on a journey to sobriety. Call 866-313-6307 to overcome addiction and find health and fulfillment in life.