Psychological addiction, physical addiction and withdrawal
There are two types of addiction: physical addiction and psychological addiction. These two forms of addiction are very different from each other.
Physical addiction occurs when the body has become so accustomed to a substance that it requires it to function. When an addicted person stops using the substance, they experience cravings and symptoms: this is known as withdrawal.
Depending on the nature of the substance, withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity, and may include headaches, trembling, nausea, etc. Withdrawal from certain substances, including opiates, can cause pain to the point that withdrawal becomes intolerable and requires medical assistance.
Psychological addiction stems from the effects of a substance or behaviour and the context surrounding it. It is influenced by a number of factors, including a person’s personality, lifestyle and social circle. In addition to being physically addicted, a person can also be triggered by the memory of the pleasure provided by a substance or activity. Psychological addiction lasts much longer than physical addition and can even last a lifetime.
For example, when a person smokes tobacco, nicotine quickly becomes physically addictive. After quitting smoking, this physical addiction will disappear after several days. On the other hand, psychological addiction will last longer because it is tied to habits that involve the ritual of smoking, such as coffee breaks or having a cigarette at the end of a meal. These memories continue to drive a person’s desire for cigarettes, even if they no longer suffer from any physical addiction.