Drug addiction is a serious mental health illness that is plaguing individuals from all walks of life. Some people normally believe that addictive behavior is as a result of genetic predisposition to become an addict.
However, others usually believe that a chaotic upbringing could have been the root cause of this problem. You will realize that a genetic predisposition to addictive behaviors coupled with environmental triggers can make an individual develop addiction.
How to know if I’m addicted?
It is important to understand the science of drug addiction. Addiction can be defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is normally characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite the harmful consequences.
Drug addiction occurs when a person uses any form of drug for a purpose or in a way other than for what it was created. Drug addiction can be associated with illicit or illegal drugs. Some of these drugs include: cocaine, heroin, marijuana and so on. It can also take place with over-the-counter and prescription drugs as well.
How does drug addiction occur?
Drug addiction is normally considered as a brain disease because the drugs normally change the brain. You will realize that they normally change its structure and how it works. Some of these brain changes can be long-lasting and can lead to dangerous behavior seen in people who normally abuse drugs.
Prescription and illegal drugs normally interfere with the natural levels of dopamine in the brain. Therefore, they have the potential to trigger an addiction. You will realize that dopamine is one of the pleasure chemicals.
Drugs can actually cause a temporary burst of the dopamine neurotransmitter in the reward pathway. This creates euphoria and pleasant feeling.
However, when exposed to this repeatedly, the brain tries to counteract the abnormally high dopamine levels. Since it cannot control the drug, the brain instead modifies itself to become less receptive to dopamine.
It therefore maintains more normal levels. This is actually done by depleting the dopamine receptors in the neurons.
Science of Addiction
With time, the brain becomes less receptive to dopamine. This makes the person to become tolerant of the drug. In order to create the same pleasurable experience, the person has to increase their drug use.
This can actually cause a cycle where the brain constantly reduces the number of receptors in order to normalize dopamine levels. This makes the person to seek out more drugs.
As the person continues to use the drug, he or she will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This is because the brain has reduced its ability to respond to dopamine and the person has been artificially raising the levels of this neurotransmitter through drugs for quite some time.
It will be very difficult to cope without drugs. You will realize that the body will no longer have the effect it should. In addition, the person will not be in a position to derive the same amount of pleasure from the activities he used to do. This individual will have cravings for the drugs from time to time.
It is important that you understand the science of drug addiction. That is how drugs normally cause addiction in individuals.
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