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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:

Psychiatric treatment
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.

Psychiatric treatment

Psychiatric treatment

The combination of psychotherapy and drug therapy is sometimes the ideal solution in addressing conditions such as depression, anxiety,...

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The way we interpret or think about a particular situation determines the feeling we have about that situation, which...

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Brief Strategic Therapy

Brief Strategic Therapy

There are personal therapies that last for years and treatments that have conclusive results in a maximum of 10...

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Integrative Therapy

Integrative Therapy

A more flexible and sophisticated approach than traditional psychotherapy, a progressive form of psychotherapy, customized ...

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Solution Focused Brief Therapy

Solution Focused Brief Therapy

Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a collaborative therapy approach with direct patient participation and focuses on the goal.

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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.

Virtual Reality Ps

Virtual reality therapy for alcohol or nicotine dependence

Patients who wish to take control of alcohol or nicotine use will be assisted by their therapist to develop new coping skills while being exposed to specific relevant virtual alcohol-related cues. The patient is placed in different virtual environments (bar, restaurant, party, at home) where there are specific temptation-cue indicators to attract him to consume alcohol or nicotine. The patient is helped by the therapist to identify the physical and cognitive symptoms of the craving he is experiencing. He is also helped to develop new cognitive behaviors or strategies to avoid, distract attention from temptation-cue indicators, to speak alone, to change the thinking pattern. Certain alcoholic beverages or cigarettes preferred by the patient can be placed by the therapist within these virtual environments. Also, the virtual bartender offers opportunities for the patient to engage in interactions and strengthen their abstinence or moderation skills. This therapy, based mainly on prevention, contains 12 sessions with a specially trained psychotherapist.

Thus, through exposure to virtual reality, the person benefits from cognitive learning, reinforcement of new behaviors, suppression of appetite in the presence of tempting-cue indicators related to alcohol or cigarettes, and avoiding relapse and produces a series of positive changes in the brain metabolism.

Treat alcohol dependence with Virtual Reality Therapy

Treat alcohol dependence with Virtual Reality Therapy

Anyone who is unable to control their excessive appetite for alcohol may suffer from alcohol addiction or dependence.

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Treat nicotine dependence with Virtual Reality Therapy

Treat nicotine dependence with Virtual Reality Therapy

Virtual Reality Therapy for addiction contains 12 sessions with...

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Talk to an ID Therapy specialist

Nadia Gorduza
Anxiety, Couple therapy, Depression, Fear of flight, Fear of public speaking, Insomnia, Panic attacks, Phobias, Psychological trauma, Stress
MD, EMBA Psychotherapist and founder ID Therapy
couple problems, phobias, anxiety, panic attacks
  • Type of Psychotherapy practiced
  • Certifications
    Dr Nadia Gorduza is the only psychotherapist in Romania, specialized in Gottman Method Couple Therapy, Virtual Reality Therapy for Phobias and Addiction, Anxiety Management. Dr Nadia Gorduza represents in Romania The Gottman Institute USA and Virtually Better Inc, USA.
Raina Saguna
Addiction-treatment, Alcohol dependence, Anxiety, Bipolar disorder, Depression, Eating Disorders, Insomnia, Panic attacks, Personality disorder treatment, Smoking dependence, Stress
Integrative Psychotherapist and Clinical Psychologist
addictions, anxiety, psychological trauma, depression, insomnia, stress, personality disorders
  • Type of Psychotherapy practiced
    • Integrative Psychotherapy working with ,adults, young adults, adolescents, couples and families.
    • Clinical Psychology
  • Certifications
    • Integrative Psychotherapist Specialist- member of the Romanian Institute of Integrative Psychotherapy-IRPI and of the Romanian Federation of Psychotherapy-FRP
    • Master Clinical Psychology, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, Brief Solution-Focused Therapy
    • Certification Hypnosis Ericksonian Metropolis
    • Master in neuro-linguistic programming- ITA NLP certified
    • Life & Business Coach- International Coaching Federation- ICF certificate

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