10 doctors weighed in:
Can you explain to me the difference between mental and physical addiction - if there is one?
10 doctors weighed in

Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry
3 doctors agree
In brief: Often together
The 2 of these often come together. "addiction" signifies a behavioral pattern of using a substance despite obvious harm to the person's life, work, and relationships.
They use more than intended; lie about using; and spend lots of time using it. Physical habituation (having withdrawal symptoms when missing dose) can happen without addiction, but may come with mental/behavioral patterns as above.

In brief: Often together
The 2 of these often come together. "addiction" signifies a behavioral pattern of using a substance despite obvious harm to the person's life, work, and relationships.
They use more than intended; lie about using; and spend lots of time using it. Physical habituation (having withdrawal symptoms when missing dose) can happen without addiction, but may come with mental/behavioral patterns as above.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Dr. Pamela Pappas
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Dr. Jeffrey Roth
Addiction Medicine
3 doctors agree
In brief: No difference.
All addictions are both mental and physical.

In brief: No difference.
All addictions are both mental and physical.
Dr. Jeffrey Roth
Dr. Jeffrey Roth
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1 comment
Dr. Jay Rosenfeld
By physical addiction you might mean the withdrawal symptoms when people stop certain drugs suddenly. This is actually called physical dependence. It can be part of an addiction disorder but it is not the whole thing which is a loss of control over the use of certain substances as well as continued use despite harm to the user.
1 doctor agrees
In brief: The line is blury
In a classical (physical) addiction the body changes by creating more receptor sites for the drug to which you get addicted.
In a mental (emotional) addiction you find the drug/experience pleasurable and want to repeat it. Basically both feel the same to the individual and both are difficult to break.

In brief: The line is blury
In a classical (physical) addiction the body changes by creating more receptor sites for the drug to which you get addicted.
In a mental (emotional) addiction you find the drug/experience pleasurable and want to repeat it. Basically both feel the same to the individual and both are difficult to break.
Dr. William Drescher
Dr. William Drescher
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