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

You might also hear it referred to as “psychological addiction.” The terms “dependence” and “addiction” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t quite the same thing:

  • Dependence refers to the process by which your mind and body come to depend on a substance so you keep feeling a certain way. This tends to result in withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance.
  • Addiction is a brain disorder involving compulsive substance use despite negative outcomes. It’s a complex condition with both psychological and physical elements that are hard (if not impossible) to separate.

When people use the term psychological addiction, they’re often talking about psychological dependence, not addiction.

体育投注网址However, it’s important to note there are still wide variations in the way doctors use these terms.

In fact, the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) the diagnoses “substance dependence” and “substance abuse” (aka addiction) since there was so much confusion. (Now both are combined into one diagnosis — substance use disorder — and measured from mild to severe.)

suggest approximately 90 percent of people recovering from opioid addiction and 75 percent of people recovering from alcohol addiction or other substance addictions will have symptoms of PAWS.

Symptoms usually include:

体育投注网址This condition can last for weeks, even months, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Symptoms might also fluctuate, improving for a period of time and intensifying when you’re under a lot of stress.

Treating purely physical dependence is pretty straightforward. The best approach typically involves working with a professional to either gradually taper off use or stop use altogether while under supervision to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Treating psychological dependence is a bit more complex. For some folks dealing with both a physical and psychological dependence, the psychological side of things sometimes resolves on its own once the physical dependence is treated.

In most cases, though, working with a therapist is the best course for addressing psychological dependence, whether it occurs on its own or alongside physical dependence.

In therapy, you’ll typically explore patterns that trigger your use and work to create new patterns of thought and behavior.

体育投注网址Talking about substance use disorder can be tricky, and not just because it’s a sensitive topic. There are a lot of terms involved that, while related, mean different things.

Psychological dependence just refers to the way that some people come to emotionally or mentally rely on a substance.


Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.