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What Is Chemical Dependency?

Man dealing with chemical dependency

If you’re looking for a drug addiction treatment program in Florida, chances are that you’ve observed signs of addiction in yourself or someone you love. But is addiction really what’s going on, or is the problem a physical or chemical dependency?

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) doesn’t make a distinction between addiction and chemical dependency. However, professional substance addiction treatment programs typically address both mental and physical dependence. In fact, most programs like this begin with the detox process, which directly treats chemical dependency and involves physical withdrawal symptoms that range from mildly uncomfortable to severe or even life-threatening. Searching for a drug addiction treatment program in Panama City Beach, Florida? Reach out to Recovery Bay Center today. You can call 833.991.2955 or contact our team online.

What Is a Chemical Dependency?

People struggling with addiction often experience uncomfortable physical withdrawal symptoms after going through the detox process. This is due to chemical dependency, which develops as the body slowly comes to rely on an addictive substance — at first for the pleasure it brings. However, somewhere along the way, a shift happens. As an addiction develops, a substance that someone once sought to feel good is now what’s needed to not feel bad.

Chemical dependency begins with repeated use of an addictive substance. Gradually, the body begins to build up a physical tolerance. This often leads to increasing the amount and frequency of substance doses. As tolerance increases, consumption does, as well. The body then becomes reliant on doses of the substance to maintain homeostasis and stave off withdrawal symptoms.

Chemical dependency and addiction often go hand in hand but, technically, they have distinct definitions. Chemical dependency is characterized by the body’s dependence on the substance. Addiction is characterized by chemical changes in the brain that result in irrational and uncontrollable behaviors around obtaining and using the substance. While some people experience chemical dependency without addiction, most often the two occur at the same time.

What Are the Signs of Addiction?

When a person develops a chemical dependency on a substance, they will show physical and psychological symptoms of a substance use disorder (SUD). General physical signs of addiction include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Enlarged or small pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Unkemptness
  • Unusual body odors

Addiction also impacts the psychological state of people struggling with it. And when in the grip of the addiction, someone may not even recognize that they’re experiencing psychological symptoms such as the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in attitude or personality
  • Inattentiveness
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Lack of motivation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Unexplained paranoia

When Should You Consider a Drug Addiction Treatment Program?

If you think that you or someone you love may be struggling with a chemical dependency and addiction, seeking professional help to overcome the situation is typically the best next step.

What if the person is denying the existence of the problem? In cases like this, close loved ones are often key players in getting them into rehab. The symptoms of a SUD often affect not just the person struggling with addiction but also their friends and family, and this can motivate a concerned loved one to act. A loved one may seek professional help to set up an intervention, for example.

Ready To Learn More About Recovery Bay Center’s Drug Addiction Treatment Programs?

If you’re looking for a drug addiction treatment program in Panama City Beach, Florida, contact Recovery Bay Center today. You can call 833.991.2955 or reach out to our team online.