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 drug treatment programs .
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