What is dependence and how it’s treated?
In specialty literature, instead of dependence, the term “addiction” is more used.
Addiction is a word taken from English language (addiction) and it means addiction to something that can be alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, computer, TV, work, gambling, and the list can go on; now, it is spoken actually about social media dependency. Addiction causes pleasure for the moment, but when used continuously, it becomes compulsive and interferes with an individual’s social and professional functioning, even affecting his health.
Dependence is a process by which a behaviour, which has both the function of reducing discomfort, is engaged in a pattern characterized by the recurrent failure to control the specific behavior and persisting in it, despite the significant negative consequences (Goodman, 1990).
How many types of dependencies are there?
- Activities dependence – shopping, sport
- Gambling dependence
- Internet dependence
- Work dependence
- Alcohol dependence
- Tobacco dependence
- Substances dependence
- Food dependence
- Sex dependence
- Pornography dependence
What are the causes that trigger dependence?
No clear causes have been identified as triggers for dependence other than using substances or carrying out an activity and there is no way to predict who will become dependent and who will not. From a neurobiological point of view, the dependencies are associated with the pleasure centres in the brain and with the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Thus, the need to use substances or perform activities that trigger these pleasurable signals may be the result of a dopamine deficiency.
Research has identified some risk factors in addiction’s development.
- Biological factors – some people may have genetic vulnerability for dependences development
- Environmental factors – such as family, friends, group pressure, physical and sexual abuse, stress and parental factors
- Developmental factors – genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages. Teenagers are most likely to develop different dependencies because the areas of their brain that govern the process of decision making, judgment and self-control are still developing and may be particularly susceptible to engage in risky behaviours at early ages that can degenerate into dependences.
How do we diagnose a possible dependence?
The diagnosis can be made by psychological and psychiatric evaluation.
Psychiatric evaluation is recommended if the dependence is severe, or there are associated comorbidities, or the person has had numerous unsuccessful attempts to abandon the consumption.
What are the symptoms?
- Symptoms of tolerance (acute need to increase doses to achieve the subjective effect of intoxication and diminished effect when administering the same amount of substance)
- Withdrawal symptoms (they appear when the consumption is stopped or diminished and disappears when the substance is re-administered)
- Compulsive desire to use substances
- Difficulty to control consumption
- The search of the substance behaviour
- Permanent desire and unsuccessful attempts to abandon the consumption
- Abandonment or significant reduction of educational, social, and recreational activities.
- Continuity of substance use despite the individual’s recognition of somatic problems
How do we treat dependence?
Dependence can be treated.
First of all, it is necessary to withdraw the substance or to stop the addictive behavior. Once the object of addiction is eliminated, a series of physical and psychological symptoms specific to withdrawal may occur, namely: nausea, vomiting, chills, sweating, pain, insomnia, muscle cramps, fever, and changes in heart rate.
Besides the physical symptomatology, there is also the emotional impairment, respectively: anxiety, irritability, depression, mood changes. Withdrawal symptoms last between 3-5 days. Therefore, the therapy during this period aims to alleviate the above-described symptoms.
After exiting the withdrawal phase, the person needs to learn coping mechanisms to cope with the temptation to return to the already embedded behavior and to craving if we are talking about substance dependence.
Most frequent used therapies
We combine different psychotherapeutic solutions to map the exact source and the way of how each symptom manifests.
ID Therapy team innovatively combines those types of therapy to provide a shortcut to the solution and to have a diagnose directly into the context.
Dependences treatment can be done by:
Along with psychological therapy is recommended the psychiatric treatment, respectively, the drug therapy to reduce the withdrawal symptoms.
Cognitive Behavioral therapy
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is used to help patients identify, avoid, or cope with situations in which they are susceptible to consumption or engaging in the dependence object. The motivational interviewing technique is used to remind people of their values, being a way to avoid their consumption or engagement in different dysfunctional behaviours.
Rehabilitation programs are also being used – to integrate the person who will help him become independent.
There are many dependencies treatment possibilities, but the best mix between them is based on condition causes. Innovative psychotherapy by Virtual Reality exposure could be one of the best choices that your therapist could choose among all the other options in order to learn how to manage your cue physiology through Exposure at Virtual Reality.
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Personality disorder treatment, Eating Disorders, Bipolar disorder, Stress, Insomnia, Smoking dependence, Alcohol dependence, Addiction-treatment, Depression, Panic attacks, Anxiety
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