Start your healing today>>

Understanding Psychological Dependence

Understanding Psychological Dependence

Psychology plays a vital role in addiction, impacting the likelihood someone will have developed an addictive personality or how drugs can function as a kind of coping mechanism for stress or depression. The opposite is also true. In fact, addiction can affect the psychology of an individual in ways that can take months or years to reverse. Learning to view addiction through the lens of psychological dependence provides a means to see substance abuse as a cause-and-effect relationship that can be actively stopped.

At Greater Boston Addiction Centers, we understand that people who struggle with a substance use disorder nearly always have complex reasons for doing so. By assessing our patients’ history of anxieties, predispositions, and insecurities, we can help create a treatment that gets to the root of the problem in a meaningful way. Don’t hesitate to call our specialized team at 877.920.6583 today to learn more about our individual-focused substance abuse treatment program in Massachusetts.

The Psychology of Substance Use Disorders

Drugs prey on the parts of our psychology that rewards instant gratification in favor of long-term health or benefit. People routinely continue using drugs that they know are harmful to their bodies and minds, despite warnings from their loved ones. Whether this is due to a genuine lack of foresight or not differs from person to person. However, fighting addiction is always a mental uphill battle. Especially in times of high stress or anxiety, the prospect of instant relief is excruciating to pass up in favor of the more distant benefits of being sober.

This is part of the reason why drugs and other mental health disorders tend to coincide. Not because drugs necessarily cause them, but rather that drugs and mental health have a cyclical relationship. If drugs are a way to relieve the duress of a mental health problem, then they begin to function more like a crutch with every use. This is how drugs supplant the typical ways the brain tries to minimize stress, and ultimately cause psychological dependence. It’s good to have a way to cope with stress or anxiety, but when that mechanism causes a string of problems on its own, it’s time to re-evaluate.

How to Reverse Psychological Dependence

It’s true that some things done to the body are irreversible. Fortunately, the issue with psychological dependence on drugs is not always one of atrophied tissue or degeneration, meaning that it’s always possible to bounce back. Reversing dependence on drugs is a process that takes several steps, many of which are complex or arduous, but there is always a way forward:


Allowing the body to remove all traces of the drug is often the first step in the recovery process. Doing so often incurs withdrawal pains, as well as other withdrawal-related health risks. This step should always be accompanied by direct medical supervision.


Addressing the emotional and psychological issues that contributed to drug use in the first place is essential. Individual therapy between a patient and their therapist is only one component of the process. Different therapy styles, like group therapy or CBT, will benefit some people more than others.


Building a strong support network of peers and specialists is an integral part of beating psychological dependence. Sharing experiences with others can make recovery feel less lonely, and hearing from others lends a sense of a shared goal going forward.

Find Solutions to Psychological Dependence at Greater Boston Addiction Centers

Being dependent on a drug can feel like being tethered to an invisible weight. It can be hard to navigate or explain the notion of being weighed down by drugs, but our team at Greater Boston Addiction Centers has walked these same roads. We’re here to provide a treatment plan that suits all of your individual needs and circumstances. With the right combination of medically assisted detox, therapy, and support, we can help you break the shackles of dependence.

Call us at 877.920.6583 or reach out online to learn about our substance abuse treatment program in Boston, Massachusetts.