Addiction And The Human Brain – It’s More Complicated Than You Think
Even though it’s a word that is used millions of times on a daily basis around the world, addiction always carries shock value. And when you realize you have an addiction, or you know somebody who does, that word becomes a lot scarier. However, when you look at addiction and the human brain from a more practical point of view, you might get a little bit of control back, studies were proven from substance abuse forums
Once you understand something better, it’s much easier to fight it off or prevent it from taking over your life. And this is exactly what this article is going to do. It will show you how addiction and the human brain interact, and why it’s so incredibly difficult to kick addictive habits.
Where Does Addiction Start?
For the most part, addiction starts with curiosity. And what do people do when they get curious about something? They test it. In fact, they might test it a second or third time, which wouldn’t count as addictive behavior, but it’s usually where the problem shows its ugly head.
If you don’t know by know, addiction focusses on a specific part of the brain. This part is referred to as the “pleasure center” and the name pretty much gives away the function. Every type of pleasure you experience goes through this part, meaning all pleasures are “processed” in the same way, regardless where they come from.
So, from sex to drugs to listening to your favorite tunes, all that pleasure goes through the pleasure center, and a healthy amount of dopamine (pleasure hormone) gets released.
It Gets More Complicated
There’s nothing wrong with getting your dopamine fix, as long as it stays natural. You see, addiction and the human brain isn’t just a matter of black and white. There are many variables that go into it, such as mental discipline and emotional control. But once the dopamine hormone is getting released more than it should, that’s when you need to start worrying.
The Process Of Addiction
Addiction can be broken down into three main phases.
– The Brain Gets Rewired
You can also call it a learning process if you want, but the first phase of addiction sees the brain getting rewired. Why? Because getting the fix to your addiction releases a huge amount of dopamine, and this literally floods the brain.
Your brain doesn’t really know how to handle it at first, but after a while, it adapts to the quick dopamine rush and the adrenalin.
– Developing Tolerance
The next phase of addiction involves building up tolerance toward it. For example, a drug addict that starts with a few lines of coke once or twice a week will start making it a daily habit.
As mentioned, the brain adapts to the dopamine flood, and when it adapts it restricts neuroreceptors that translate into a good feeling. And after your brain creates these limits, you’ll need more of your addiction to get the same pleasure.
– It Turns Into Compulsive Behavior
The last phase of addiction is probably the toughest because it turns the addict into a compulsive individual. Now that the brain has trained itself to process pleasure differently, and you have built up a tolerance, it’s a matter of maintaining the vicious cycle.
Addiction literally forces its way into the brain via a chemical release. And while researchers once thought that addiction could be treated with severe punishment, they eventually discovered that it’s a genuine disorder.
Addiction can and will change the way your brain functions, and how you perceive pleasure. And this is why it is considered a valid chronic disorder. Once you find yourself stuck with an addiction, nothing else really matters anymore.
More specifically, you’ve gotten used to the shortcut to pleasure, and your body is trying to deal with it.
Can Addiction Patterns Be Changed?
It is not impossible to beat addiction, but don’t expect it to be easy either. Because when you can’t control your thoughts, how exactly do you make rational decisions?
One of the best ways to fight addiction is to replace it with another healthy habit. Of course, it will be challenging, but it does make it easier to reprogram the brain towards a healthy direction. If you have an addiction problem, you should highly visit a inpatient drug rehabilitation facility
Couples Addiction Therapy
Alcohol, Cocaine, Heroin, and Opioid Medication are the most popular addictive drugs that are affecting relationships in a negative manner. Whether a couple is married or engaged or just at the boyfriend girlfriend stage, the addiction will take over their lives. There are specialized protocols and counseling programs to help couples get clean.
Addicts in a long term relationship with another addict can have special neuro connected issues. Sometimes each partner has a dependency on the other. New Drug rehab centers specializing in couples and co dependents can address these specific issues. Counseling and medication help clear the drug addiction from the brain. Behavioral therapy for both partners in a relationship can help form emotional and physical bonds between them. Couples substance abuse therapy will teach both partners together how to live a sober lifestyle. All the negative behaviors will be worked through with a therapist. The couple will begin to learn new coping skills and listening skills.
Why You Should Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease
Look around you and you’ll see a variety of drug addicts. Mainstream society has plenty of them to choose from. Over recent years, drug addiction has become rampant in many areas. It’s tearing families apart in epidemic proportions. Many communities seem to be taken up by nothing more than drug addicts. Many of these areas also have treatment facilities at nearly every corner. But what is drug addiction really?
Many call it a disease. Is it? Cancer is a disease. Diabetes is a disease. However, many will disagree and tell you that drug addiction is not a disease, it’s a choice. Why? Because the person that takes that drug made a conscious choice to take drugs.
We’re not talking about the patient that was prescribed medication and became hooked here, we’re talking about the person that choose to snort a drug, shoot a drug with a needle, or pop a pill that they didn’t need. Or perhaps they loaded a pipe with meth, pot or something and smoked it.
The drugs, in turn, change the chemistry of the brain and pretty soon, the person has to have more to get the sensation that they got the first time they took the drug. Worse, the brain chemistry changes and that person begins to lose a lot of their sense of well being unless they’re high.
Now, how is that a disease? The person has chosen to alter their brain chemistry and utilize drugs in an effort to self-medicate and feel high. The drugs alter the dopamine in the brain and the more a person uses them, the stronger doses a person takes and the more frequently a person uses, the worse the condition becomes.
A disease is something that someone has no control over. The diabetic can’t control how his or her body reacts to sugar so they avoid it. They may have to take insulin to ensure that their body doesn’t give them serious consequences. The drug addict, on the other hand, doesn’t have to have that drug, they choose to take it. That is the difference. The drug addict has a choice. Unfortunately, when the drug addict chooses to take a drug, it alters their brain and the brain stops behaving as it should and begins to rely on the drug altered state to feel good.
The cancer patient, on the other hand, has no such choice. Ask any parent who is sitting with their child in a cancer treatment center and they’ll tell you how very painful the treatments are. How stressful the situation is. How frightening it is to sit and watch helplessly as their child undergoes surgery after surgery, chemotherapy after chemotherapy and radiation treatment after radiation treatment. Ask them how it is to sit and watch the scans and see the results on the screen that the tech can’t discuss with them. They don’t get a choice, neither did their child.
The drug addict, however, had a choice. They chose to take that drug. They choose to continue taking that drug. They may take many drugs. Each decision that a person makes has a consequence, good or bad. The drug addict that chooses to continue taking drugs has the consequence of losing their job, their family, their very life.
Drug addicts need to take the responsibility for their own life. They need to realize that each and every choice that they take is a life-altering choice. That child in the cancer ward didn’t have a choice, the drug addict did. They had the choice to walk away or use the drugs. Their choice dictated their consequences.
Unfortunately, the choice that a drug addict makes has lasting consequences for the entire family. It can cost them their job and even injure or kill someone due to their negligence. None of the other people around them chose this, the addict did. They chose to be selfish, self-centered, and focus only on what they wanted. They stopped caring about others a long time ago.
Addiction doesn’t just hurt the addict, it tears families apart. It destroys friendships, jobs, relationships, and life. Countless television programs tell us that drug addiction is a disease, yet, they haven’t a cure for it. Why? There isn’t a cure for choosing to be so self-centered and focus only on your wants and desires.
Part of growing up is learning to take responsibility for your own actions. Recognizing that for every action there is an opposite and an equal reaction. Drug addicts have a pattern of manipulating others to believe in them. To believe that they’ve “changed”. It’s not quite a disease, it’s a con game. It’s a habit that is more than a sickness, less than a disease. If you need to seek more attention about this issue, please make sure you get information from substance abuse treatment centers.