What is addiction and how does it start?

Addiction involves the intense desire for something, the loss of control over its use, and continued participation in it despite adverse consequences. When medications enter the system, they produce an overabundance of dopamine in the brain. Overabundance causes intense feelings of pleasure, many times more than the natural and healthy amounts the brain is used to. Because there is an overabundance of dopamine that the drugs are injecting, the brain will compensate and, naturally, produce less.

Scientists have proposed several explanations for why some people get involved with drugs and then turn into abuse. An explanation points to a biological cause, such as having a family history of drug or alcohol abuse. Another explanation is that drug abuse can lead to affiliation with partners who abuse drugs, which in turn exposes the individual to other drugs. The human brain is prepared to reward us when we do something pleasurable.

Exercise, diet and other behaviors that are directly related to our survival cause the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Substance misuse doesn't always lead to addiction, while addiction involves regular substance misuse or participation in harmful behavior. Addiction treatment is highly personalized and often requires the support of the individual's community or family. Similarly, since certain drugs may be more addictive than others, the method of drug use may affect the risk of addiction.

He hopes that his words will inspire those who need help to take the first step to find the best treatment for their addiction, so that they can live the life they deserve. Addiction Center receives advertising payments from treatment providers who respond to chat requests on websites and is not associated with any specific treatment provider. But it's important to remember that addiction has always been a disease, even when our health care systems were very hostile to the idea, and even when the people that American culture primarily associated with drugs and addiction were black or Latin American people. Nobody wants to be addicted to drugs, and I guarantee that those who are addicted wish they could get it all back.

Others start their addiction with prescription drugs, such as opioids, to treat an injury or the treatment of pain, and fall into a cycle of misuse due to the addictive nature of the substances. Not all people who use substances become addicted to this process, but if you're already at risk, this is where the addiction cycle can begin. The American Society for Addiction Medicine defines addiction as “a treatable chronic medical illness that involves complex interactions between brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and a person's life experiences. The Addiction Center receives advertising payments from treatment centers that respond to calls to the toll-free numbers listed on the websites and is not associated with any specific treatment provider.

Addiction is highly treatable, but that treatment must be based on evidence and best scientific practices. As described above, the chemical reactions that take place in the brain of a person with addiction differ significantly from those that occur in the brain of people without addiction. The main risk factor for addiction is taking a mood-altering substance or engaging in addictive behavior for the first time. The Addiction Center does not endorse any treatment center or guarantee the quality of care provided or the results that will be obtained at any treatment center.

Anyone suffering from substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder, the formal descriptors of drug addiction and alcoholism, has several treatment options and homes for living sober when ready to commit to sustained sobriety. .

Steve Langehennig
Steve Langehennig

Amateur bacon enthusiast. Amateur coffee geek. Incurable travel advocate. Infuriatingly humble tv guru. Professional food nerd. Subtly charming travel ninja.