Substance abuse produces silent effects. You start off with a drink or a pill, and you experience the high, and wake up the next day as if nothing happened. Do this enough times, and your body begins to change. You develop a tolerance, also known as physical dependence.
Physical dependence is what begins the dark cycle of substance abuse. The more you use, the more of the substance you require. In fact, it becomes the only thing that makes you feel better. Without ingesting more drugs, you start to experience withdrawal.
Fighting back against physical dependence is a key objective of drug treatment. Professionals at Amatus Recovery Centers can help develop a treatment program to lead you to a more stable life of sobriety. To learn more about our substance abuse treatment centers, contact us today.
What is Physical Dependence?
One of the big dangers of substance abuse is developing a tolerance level. In effect, your body becomes unable to function without the drug you use or the alcohol you drink. It can even happen with prescription medications, such as sedating drugs in the benzodiazepine family (Valium and Xanax.) Your body will respond when you cease drinking or using your drug of choice. It’s at that point that you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. Examples of drug-related withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Clammy skin
- Disrupted sleep
Stopping physical dependence requires successful treatment.
Are Addiction and Physical Dependence the Same?
You may notice the words “addiction” and “physical dependence” used interchangeably. And while they are closely related, they are not, in fact, the same thing.
Addiction occurs when you’re unable to stop drinking or using a drug and results in problems with work, friendships, school, or family. But it doesn’t necessarily always involve developing physical dependence.
There are several examples of drugs that can create dependence, but not an addiction. Drugs in the corticosteroid family, for instance, used to control inflammation, have been shown to produce withdrawal symptoms without triggering the problems of a substance-use disorder.
Certain antidepressants such as Paxil also show the same properties.
The distinction between addiction and physical dependence has been noted over the past decade. Addiction was redefined to focus on factors such as compulsive use, continuing to abuse substances even when problems occur, and ordering your life around a drug or drink of alcohol.
Addressing Physical Dependence
Addressing physical dependence requires a commitment to seek treatment from professionals such as those on staff at Amatus Recovery Center. It’s important to think of treatment as a continuing and ongoing process — it’s not a cure, but sets a course back to sobriety and subsequently requires ongoing vigilance.
Treatment usually starts with an intake assessment, where doctors will learn more about you, your background and family history, and your patterns of substance abuse. It’s important to be open and honest during this session to help shape the rest of the treatment.
Following the intake, clinicians will develop a comprehensive, multi-step treatment plan. Amatus Recovery Centers has the resources to provide care across the treatment continuum. Initially, you will likely experience a period of detox, where the drugs or alcohol are flushed from your system. During drug and alcohol detox, physicians will manage withdrawal symptoms to keep you safe and as comfortable as possible.
Then you will go through a period of counseling, on both an individual and group basis. Counseling and therapy are designed to unlock some of the mysteries of your behavior, to help you build the skills you need to move forward.
The final stage of addressing physical dependence is aftercare. Relapse rates among addicts are sadly very high. Aftercare delivers the resources you need to reduce the risk of backsliding.
Breaking the Cycle
Ending a physical dependence isn’t easy and requires focus, commitment, and support — especially professional support. Amatus Recovery Centers across the country will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan, including a clear path for aftercare to reduce the risk of relapse. Recovery is within your grasp. Contact our counselors at 833.631.0525 for a confidential consultation.