Is it In Your Head? Mental Versus Physical Alcoholism

Mental and physical addiction manifest differently for each person but basically focus on the difference between what the mind and body perceive as necessary. Physical addiction results in the body needing alcohol to function while the brain develops a desire for a drink (or several drinks). Learn more about the difference between mental and physical addiction and how to get on the road to recovery from alcohol addiction.


Mental Addiction

A mental addiction to alcohol is the beginning of a path of potential descent into alcoholism. The body may not rely on alcohol to function but is obsessed with a mental desire to obtain alcohol. The mind creates a world around drinking which can lead to dependence. The following are signs and symptoms of a mental addiction to alcohol:

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

 

Physical Addiction

The body develops dependence on alcohol following periods of heavy alcohol use. When a person consistently feeds the body a substance like alcohol, the new ‘normal’ equilibrium is created and the body adjusts. Once the body realizes the normal levels are off, symptoms of withdrawal may occur without the presence of alcohol. Physical addiction occurs differently from person to person. Physical symptoms of addiction may include:

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

Not All in the Head

Both mental and physical addiction can create serious health concerns along with mental health issues which may arise. If a loved one is struggling to quit drinking, it may be helpful to contact someone who can support the individual through resources, treatment programs or other sources of support for the journey of sobriety. It can be difficult to quit on one’s own until the person is ready to admit a problem exists. It is not always easy to notice a problem has occurred when drinking turns into alcoholism. Loved ones can play a key role in noticing signs of potential abuse and stepping in to support getting a loved one the necessary help. When an individual is ready to receive help, many resources exist in the form of:

  • 12 step groups
  • Individual support groups
  • Family, relative or other support groups
  • Inpatient and outpatient programs
  • Psychotherapy with support for underlying mental health conditions

 

The above list is just a preliminary outline of what is available to help an individual quit drinking. The first step is to admit a problem exists, seek appropriate help and follow up with aftercare programs which provide the necessary help in recovery. It is not just all in a person’s head when addiction takes over. It can take concentrated effort to get well but it is worth the journey to retrieve a person’s health from alcoholism and get back to living a healthy lifestyle.

 

Alcoholism can be a very serious, even deadly, disease. Hired Power is here to provide the next steps for helping individuals quit drinking and live sober, healthy lives. Call us to find out how we can help you get started on the journey to recovery.