Not all drugs create physical dependence and subsequent withdrawal symptoms. Marijuana and many psychedelics and hallucinogens, for example, do not cause a user to go into a state of withdrawal when discontinued, but still carry the potential for addiction. A person addicted to drugs that do not create physical dependence is still at just as much risk of losing control of their life and falling victim to the familiar traps of addiction. Dependence is a need for, or reliance, on a specific substance. Being physically dependent on a drug is not necessary for one to suffer from the consequences of addiction. However, rather than using a substance to stave off the pain of withdrawal symptoms, a user becomes psychologically unable to control their use. The disease of addiction is one of mind, body, and spirit. We are restless, irritable, and discontent, so we turn to substances in effort to self-medicate ourselves. Chronic use of any substance, regardless of its potential to cause physical dependence, can psychologically manipulate us into feeling as though we need the drug simply to feel in control. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that there is a difference between addiction and physical dependence: “Addiction—or compulsive drug use despite harmful consequences—is characterized by an inability to stop using a drug; failure to meet work, social, or family obligations; and, sometimes (depending on the drug), tolerance and withdrawal.” A user of substances that do not form physical dependence can still suffer from the compulsion to use the drug and find themselves facing the pain and suffering caused by addiction to “hard” drugs like heroin and cocaine. A mental obsession, or uncontrollable desire to use, can afflict anyone using substances, regardless of the substance’s potential to cause physical dependence. Physical dependence can be overcome by going through a process of detoxifying the body, but psychological dependence and the mental obsession require adherence to a strong program of recovery. Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate based on what form of drug a person is taking—anyone suffering from the disease has the potential to lose manageability of their life and suffer major consequences from their addictive behaviors.
It is possible to recovery from addiction. You can change your story and begin building a brighter future in sobriety by seeking help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to taking you through the process of recovery in a comfortable and serene environment. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777