Psychological Dependence

This may occur with any drug that alters consciousness however bizarre, e.g. muscarine (see p. 436) and to some that, in ordinary doses, do not, e.g. non-narcotic analgesics, purgatives, diuretics; these latter provide problems of psychopathology rather than of psychopharmacology.

Psychological dependence can occur merely on a tablet or injection, regardless of its content, as well as to drug substances. Mild dependence does not require that a drug should have important psychic effects; the subject's beliefs as to what it does are as important, e.g. purgative and diuretic dependence in people obsessed with dread of obesity. We are all physically dependent on food, and some develop a strong emotional dependence and eat too much (or the reverse); sexual activity, with its unique mix of arousal and relaxation, can for some become compulsive or addictive.

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