Differences Between Mental and Physical Addiction

The best way to describe mental and physical addiction is to determine the difference between want and need. A person may want some drinks but the body isn’t physically desiring alcohol. Physical addiction is when the body requires alcohol to function. Mental addiction is both physical and physiological. A physical addiction to alcohol is different than a mental addiction. Both are serious and not to be taken lightly.

Mental Addiction

Mental addiction to alcohol is the beginning of a devastating path towards alcoholism. The body may not rely on alcohol to function but the mind is craving it. The mind begins to create a world around drinking alcohol. Psychological reinforcement can lead to alcohol dependence. One drink can turn into two until it is consumed everyday. Mental addiction signs may include:

  • Inability to meet deadlines and appointments
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Obsessive thoughts about alcohol
  • Problems at work
  • Relationship issues

Physical Addiction

After a certain amount of time and number of drinks consumed, the body will develop dependence. The human body likes to remain at a normal equilibrium. If a person is consistently getting alcohol into the system, a new normal is created and the body adjusts. Any deviation from the normal levels means symptoms of withdrawals can occur. Physical addiction occurs differently from person to person depending on various factors such as an amount consumed, time spent drinking, age and physical health. If a person is physically dependent, mild to severe symptoms can occur when drinking is stopped. Symptoms of physical addiction to alcohol can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Inability to function without alcohol
  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Panic
  • Rapid heart rate

Even though mental addiction does not cause serious physical health concerns. It is only a matter of time before physical addiction sets in. Mental addiction is merely a stepping stone towards alcoholism. It is important to seek help if addiction is beginning or has started from professionals who can support recovery.

The Villa believes in the power of recovery to transform lives. Call us to seek support for yourself or a loved one who may be struggling with addiction. Let us help you find hope and healing.