What is Psychological Dependence on Alcohol?
Although many people consider alcoholic substances to be quite harmless in nature; the truth is that as with any form of consumption, excessive exposure can have a very detrimental effect on the human body. Studies have shown that even an occasional drink can affect the way in which the body and its organs are able to function; and so it stands to good reason that repetitive consumption can have even more adverse effects.
When Does Addictive Dependency Develop?
When asking ‘what is psychological dependence on alcohol’, the best way to approach the subject is by understanding that the addiction relates to the mind, as opposed to the body. Alcohol, as a form of narcotic, affects the human brain first and foremost. When a person drinks the substance, their stomach and intestines will absorb the formula and it will then enter the blood stream.
The brain receives the largest and most consistent quantities of blood and so the first port of call for the alcoholic compounds is this organ. With just one or two consumptions every so often, the worst that is believed to happen is that brain cells can die (which in itself can be quite detrimental to a person’s well-being).
Over time however, and with continued exposure, the toxins that are present within alcohol will begin to formulate within cells around the brain, as well as within other parts of the body (including the liver and kidneys). As each cell will have typically consisted of its own compounds, the fact that the ethyl alcohol will have replaced them is the first thing that can lead to an addiction – both psychologically and physically.
What can initially start as a habit of consuming alcohol to enjoy the feeling of being under the influence, can soon take on a much more habitual nature. This happens because the human body trusts the brain to be able to moderate the types of chemicals that are present within its cells. As the natural compounds are replaced by alcoholic toxins, the body will attempt to adapt in a way that allows a person to accommodate for the new chemical formula. This can lead to an emotional dependency on the consumption of alcohol.
So, what are the differences between psychological and physical dependence?
Physical dependence is best explained by identifying the key traits associated with it. For example, if a person feels habitually obliged to consume alcohol on a night out, then they may experience the general symptoms associated with being under the influence. As their body expels the toxins, their actions will eventually return to normal.
Psychological dependence on the other hand is unique, in the sense that where a physical habit can be overcome, a psychological one will end up being considered a natural process by the brain. This means that as the toxins within alcohol become a staple part of a person’s diet, the body will modify its metabolism so as to encompass the influx of these chemicals, before developing a sense of addiction which can manifest as cravings.
Without the proper drug or alcohol rehabilitation care, a person could soon find that their organs begin to cater to the toxins in an unnatural way, making them more resilient and therefore far more dependent on consuming larger and larger volumes of alcohol to fulfil their cravings