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Substance dependence is more often than not more than just a physical health issue. There are many psychological aspects involved. An addiction to cigarettes, for example, may be based on both the body's physical need for nicotine and the mind's need for its effects. Many people smoke to "relax," for example.
The same is true for other substances. A person returning home from a rough day at work may experience not only the physical need for alcohol, but also the psychological effects of becoming inebriated and forgetting about the strain and stress of the day.
There are also socio-psychological issues involved in addiction. A drug addict may be part of a social circle in which the use of the substance of choice is regarded not only as acceptable, but also as required and "cool."
The effects of addiction therefore manifest in both the body and mind. This means that no extent of outside influence, by itself, can effectively cure addiction. The decision needs to belong to the recovering addict him- or herself.
Making the decision to overcome addiction starts internally, in the mind of the addict. The person then needs to follow up by overcoming both the psychological and physiological dependency issues that created the addiction in the first place. Since the psychological issues are often the strongest risk factors for relapse, these should be addressed as primarily important.
An addict wishing to recover therefore needs to remember two important points: The choice to recover lies within his or her own mind; the road to recovery will be successful only by overcoming psychological addiction issues. Only by addressing these internal factors first will the addict have any hope of permanent recovery.
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