What Is Chemical Dependency?

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Chemical dependency and addiction, although intertwined, are separate conditions with distinct characteristics. Chemical dependency involves the physical reliance on a substance by the body, while addiction encompasses the chemical alterations in the brain leading to irrational and uncontrollable behaviors associated with acquiring and using addictive drugs. Although it is possible to experience chemical dependency without developing addiction, more often than not, these two conditions coexist.

Today, you will learn:

  • What is chemical dependency?
  • Chemical dependency definition: what does it mean?
  • How can you connect with a chemical dependency program at an addiction treatment facility in Ohio?
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Causes of Chemical Dependence

The development of drug dependency can be attributed to various factors and influences. While each individual’s experience may differ, some common causes of chemical dependency include:

  • Prolonged or excessive substance use: Continued and frequent use of addictive substances can lead to chemical changes in the brain, causing the body to adapt and become chemically dependent on the substance.
  • Genetic predisposition: Genetic factors can play a role in increasing the likelihood of developing chemical addiction. Some people may have a genetic predisposition that makes them more susceptible to substances that are chemically addictive.
  • Environmental factors: The environment in which a person lives and grows up can contribute to alcohol and drug abuse, and may also influence the development of chemical dependency. Factors like exposure to substance abuse within the family, peer influence, high-stress environments, and easy access to drugs or alcohol can all contribute to the likelihood of developing a dependency.
  • Mental health disorders: Individuals who struggle with mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma, may turn to substances as a way to self-medicate or cope with their emotional pain. Self-medication of symptoms with the abuse of drugs and alcohol can lead to a vicious cycle of dependency and addiction, while at the same time failing to address the problem.
  • Social and cultural factors: Societal and cultural norms surrounding substance use can influence someone’s likelihood of developing chemical dependency. Factors such as social acceptance, glamorization of substance use in media, and normalization of drug or alcohol use in certain social circles can all contribute to the development of dependency.

Chemical dependency is a complex condition influenced by a combination of factors. Understanding the underlying causes can help inform effective prevention strategies and guide the development of comprehensive treatment approaches.

Treatments for Chemical Dependency

Several effective treatments are available to address chemical dependency and support those looking to commit to recovery. The choice of treatment depends on various factors, including the specific substance involved, the severity of the dependency, and the individual’s unique needs. Here are some common treatment approaches for chemical dependency:

  • Detoxification: The first step in treating chemical dependency is often detoxification, where the body is allowed to rid itself of the substance. This process can be medically supervised to manage withdrawal symptoms and minimize complications.
  • Inpatient rehab: Inpatient or residential rehabilitation programs provide a structured and supportive environment for individuals to focus on their recovery. These programs typically involve a combination of therapies, counseling, support groups, and educational sessions to address the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of addiction.
  • Outpatient rehab: Outpatient programs offer flexibility for those who do not require 24-hour supervision. These programs provide similar therapies and counseling to inpatient rehabilitation but allow individuals to reside at home and continue their daily activities while attending scheduled treatment sessions.
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment): MAT combines medications with behavioral therapies to treat chemical dependency. Medications can help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and restore balance in the brain. This approach is commonly used and proved effective for treating opioid and alcohol detox and addiction.
  • Behavioral therapies: Various evidence-based therapies like CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), motivational interviewing, and contingency management are effective in addressing the psychological and behavioral aspects of addiction. Chemical dependency counseling can help individuals develop coping skills, modify destructive thought patterns, and create healthier habits.
  • ​​Support groups: Participation in support groups, such as 12-step programs like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) can provide ongoing support and a sense of community during recovery. These groups offer peer support, encouragement, and a platform to share experiences.
  • Holistic interventions: Complementary and alternative therapies, including mindfulness practices, yoga, art therapy, and acupuncture, can be incorporated into treatment plans to promote overall well-being and support the recovery process.

Individualized treatment plans are essential as everyone’s journey to recovery is unique. A comprehensive approach that combines multiple treatment modalities is often the most effective in addressing chemical dependency and supporting long-term sobriety. Shortcut your search for chemical dependency treatment centers by reaching out to Ohio Recovery Centers in Cincinnati, OH.

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Get Treatment for Alcohol and Drug Dependence at Ohio Recovery Centers

Discover personalized addiction treatment programs at Ohio Recovery Centers, tailored to address dependencies on alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs.

Extensive research reveals that both mild and moderate addictions respond just as well to intensive outpatient treatment as residential rehab. Embracing outpatient treatment not only grants you greater flexibility but also ensures affordability, all while maintaining the highest standard of care. Choose from the following programs:

At Ohio Recovery Centers, all our treatment programs seamlessly integrate pharmacological, behavioral, and holistic therapies, forming a scientifically grounded approach to recovery. By engaging with treatment, you will acquire invaluable relapse prevention strategies, effective coping techniques, and, if necessary, continuous access to therapeutic support.

For immediate assistance, reach out to our admissions team today at 877-679-2132. Your journey toward recovery starts now.

Table of Contents

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn