Addiction is a habit of desiring for something so deeply, can no longer control the intake of this thing and even with serious repercussions, they still consume it. This habit disrupts the way the brain records pleasure then destabilizes other functions like inspiration and learning. It is however possible to overcome an addiction even though it can be challenging.
Not only is one at risk if being addicted to drugs and alcohol, but to other engagements that bring pleasure like shopping, sex, and gambling.
A common problem from a new perception
Usually, an addiction is not an intentional or conscious decision but people only realise when they are in too deep.
Out of the American population, over 20 million citizens are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Marijuana, Opioids and painkillers are the most common abused drugs.
In the initial stages of research for addictive behaviors in the 1930s, it was believed that only the weak at heart can fall into these habits and that for one to overcome it, they needed either to be punished or encouraged to pull themselves together to handle this problem. This notion has however changed. It is now believed that addiction is a prolonged illness that affects the brain setup and operation.
Attitude of pleasure
Regardless of the source of pleasure, the brain recognizes it in a standard way. It can be from a favourite meal, a sexual experience or an addictive substance.
All possible addictive stimulants produce an overflow of dopamine in the brain and the chances of this substance being abused depends on how fast the dopamine is released after intake, how much of it is released and the consistency of the release. The mode of intake also contributes to the possibility of addiction.
Dopamine not only enhances the feelings of pleasure but training the brain and its ability to retain encounters, which are crucial elements of desiring something and developing a dependency on it.
Are you addicted?
Knowing if you have an addiction is obvious, but very difficult to admit especially because of social stigma that comes with it but accepting the situation is the first step on the recovery journey.
Are you taking more of the stimulant than before? Do you experience withdrawal symptoms if you don’t engage? Do you tell lies about your engagement with the substance or behavior? If your answer is yes for these questions, it is recommended that you seek help as soon as possible.
The stimulants provide instant gratification for reward system in the brain and prolonged intake of these substances can make the brain get used to being flooded with dopamine. Over time, the dopamine has reduced effects on the reward aspect of the brain and therefore one has to take the stimulants in excess to achieve that sense of reward.
Loss of control
Your body does not enjoy the indulgence of the stimulant anymore but somehow it remembers what it wants to feel and craves for the substance. The brain has a recollection of what gives it pleasure and where it gets it from and when you find yourself in these circumstances, the craving intensifies. The risk of such cravings is deeper addiction or relapse of a recovering addict.
Can one recover from an addiction?
The answer to the above question is Yes! Say yes to other productive activities and indulgences such as a healthy lifystlye which could include exercise, proper diet etc. you can draw more meaning from your life without necessary feeling “high”.