Since addiction is a harmful, maladaptive behavior, psychological models are very useful for understanding why people engage in this unhealthy behavior. People in this stage usually experience their addictive behavior as a positive or pleasant experience.

According to Duncan, dependence is an avoidance behavior, where an individual finds a drug that produces a temporary escape from a problem, and taking the drug is reinforced as an operant behavior. For that reason, psychological addiction treatment requires rehab and therapy or medications for the treatment of underlying mental health problems. Rehab centers serve to provide support and treatment for persons as they remove the drug out of the system and recover from both physical and psychological consequences of addiction. Through individual and group counseling sessions, rehabs enable patients to adopt healthier coping mechanisms in the presence of triggers that are used to propel their substance abuse. Besides substance abuse, this is a good approach for other types of addiction and may even help manage the psychological effects of cell phone addiction.

A New Way to Understand the Psychology of Addiction

Psychological withdrawal looks like intense fear and panic when a person is not using the addictive agent. When it comes to withdrawal, most people usually think of classic physiological addiction withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, irritability, and appetite changes, among others. Addiction refers to the compulsive urge to use substances despite the consequences they cause and the inability to stop using them, even if a person attempts to do it. The term dependence refers to developing tolerance and experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The difference between psychological addiction and psychological dependence is in the severity of the use of a substance or drug. On the other hand, psychological drug addiction refers to the use of illegal drugs and prescription medications like opioids to the point a person becomes obsessed with them and engages in risky behaviors or exhibits an irritable mood when not using them.


Furthermore, dependence rates were greater in unemployed populations ages 18 and older and in metropolitan-residing populations ages 12 and older. Cross addiction is when one already has a predisposed addiction and then starts to become addicted to something different.

Comorbid Disorders

A model for understanding the interrelatedness of theories–combo of biology, psychology, and social factors. This model is important in the conceptualization of substance related disorders and treatment. Part of the reason for this error is that the name “addiction” was first applied to drug-related behaviors, and we became stuck on the idea that drugs were an integral aspect of addiction. And, of course, some drugs used in addictions can produce physical dependence, and that fact seemed extremely important, and it set drug addictions apart from non-drug compulsive behaviors.

  • Left unmanaged, withdrawal from certain substances can be severe and even life threatening in some cases.
  • In all cases, professional treatment and a range of recovery supports should be available and accessible to anybody who develops a substance use disorder.
  • These disorders might include cognitive difficulties, mood disturbances, and other mental illnesses.
  • Second, an object-relations perspective proposes that to understand addiction vulnerability, a focus on the relational and representational aspects of development is needed, wherein, over time, the mind develops in relation to others, primarily with early caregivers.
  • Rather than pinpoint the one thing that causes addiction, we now understand that a constellation of factors contributes to a person being more or less at risk for addiction.

This review has considered the value of synthesizing neurobiological and psychodynamic perspectives to better understand addictions, identifying potential pathways to the initiation of substance use, as well as mechanisms that may maintain substance use and abuse. Fostering secure attachment bonds through sensitive parenting during childhood or through psychological interventions later in life may represent a unique opportunity to promote healthy socio-emotional and motivational growth across the lifespan.

Positive affect

An individual’s stress hormones are chronically elevated (Burke Harris, 2018; van der Kolk, 2014). The multifaceted disorder needs a multifaceted conceptualization, and we find that in the biopsychosocial model of addiction (Marlatt & Baer, 1988). Rather than pinpoint the one thing that causes addiction, we now understand that a constellation of factors contributes to a person being more or less at risk for addiction. Genetics, biology, mental health concerns, trauma, social norms, and availability all contribute to the risk of addiction. Discover commonly misused drugs, symptoms of misuse, where to seek help, and more. Physical dependence happens when your body starts to rely on a substance to function.

What are the 4 C’s of AA?

These four factors, compulsion, craving, consequences and control, are unique to addiction alone and are classified as the 4 C's. The behaviors of most addicts are very similar.

Bandura’s in CBT that cognitive factors mediate learning processes, and human behavior develops by a combo of conditioning and modeling. However, this condition does not generally occur with withdrawal from opiate drugs, which are also considered to be extremely physically addicting. The main physical addiction vs. psychological addiction difference here is that physical addiction shows the body’s biological and chemical dependence on the addictive agent. On the flip side, psychological addiction is more involved in the addictive process that affects a person’s behavior. Since psychological addiction is deeply connected to a person’s mental health, rehab proves to be an effective approach. Studies confirm that addictions tend to co-occur with a wide range of mental health diseases.

Abnormal Psychology

Some estimates 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. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is another example of psychological withdrawal. It’s a condition that sometimes pops up after the symptoms of physical withdrawal have subsided.

What is a psychological model?

1. a theory, usually including a mechanism for predicting psychological outcomes, intended to explain specific psychological processes.

THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information contained on this website is not intended to be a substitute for, or to be relied upon as, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer involve personal choices like diet, exercise, sun exposure, etc. Addiction is due to faulty thinking and should be treated with corrected cognitive approaches to one’s behavior.

Addictive Behaviors

The preparation stage of the stages of change model means a person has moved forward to planning and preparing for carrying out changes they learned about in the contemplation stage. After the experiment finished, the dogs eventually returned to their previous state. The results showed how the dogs changed from fear to no fear, and with time, back to their original personalities. Researchers believe that this was mostly because the dogs got used to the shock treatments. When someone first starts to use a drug, there is a high level of enjoyment and low withdrawal. At this point, individuals may still have the ability to quit with less difficulty. However, because of the pleasure they are receiving from the drug, they may not be motivated to quit.

  • Nonetheless, scientist and practitioners generally assume these theories apply in some way to all addictions.
  • Certain personality characteristics might be the underlying factors in all addictive disorders.
  • Our drug and alcohol treatment center in Chicago knows that addiction has just as much to do with the mind as it does with the body, and that’s why we’re looking into the psychology behind addiction.
  • For example, newer studies have found daily stress affects job satisfaction and motivation and not factors that are instinctive or relate to the body’s functioning.
  • Figure 6.One-third of inpatient hospital costs and 20% of all deaths in the United States every year are the result of untreated addictions and risky substance use.
  • A person does not necessarily have to experience the rewards and punishments themselves; learning also happens by watching others engage in the behavior and seeing what happens to them.

In the late 1970s, psychologist Frank Landy suggested that job attitudes result from how well one’s body works. Based on Landy’s approach, motivational factors, such as a pay increase, would be short-lived because time changes the strength of emotions. Therefore, every time salary increases, a person’s response is less favorable. When a person is addicted to a drug, the drug’s pleasurable effects will decrease with time. Eventually, the person gets no pleasure from taking the drug, and the withdrawal response takes over.