What are the causes of addiction? How are they so powerful to ensnare certain individuals while others seem so free of this struggle? Is it nature, nurture, or both?
Whether you’ve ever struggled with addiction or not, we’ve all wondered these things at some point in our lives. Furthermore, it’s important for everyone to understand how addiction works.
After all, this knowledge allows you to help those who need it. Alternatively, you may struggle with addiction yourself now or in the future. Thus, this information can help you as well.
For these reasons, it’s great that you’ve come here to seek these answers today.
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With this in mind, in this article I share a short but comprehensive explanation of how and why addiction starts. Read on to discover more.
To understand the initial causes of addiction, you must first understand how addiction takes control of the mind. Basically, the addictive behavior programs certain patterns into the brain.
It does this by manipulating our brain chemistry. You see, a lot of our behavior is governed by the natural release of certain chemicals in our brain. This causes us to form habits that help us survive.
For example, if you burn your hand on the stove, chemicals are released that warn your brain that the behavior is dangerous. From then on the thought of your stove releases enough of these warning chemicals to ensure you’ll be more careful around it. In the same way, positive/healthy behaviors release the “reward” chemical, dopamine.
Unfortunately, certain behaviors and substances trick the brain into releasing the wrong chemicals at the wrong time. This causes you to fear healthy behaviors, like processing unwanted feelings.
Also, it makes your brain regard the addictive behavior as the ultimate reward. Thus, you crave the addiction fix above all else.
Furthermore, some drugs act on your brain directly. They work as a substitute or fraudulent version of your brain’s naturally-produced chemicals. This, too, can program addiction into your brain.
While all addictions work more-or-less the same way, their causes can be quite different. So, now, let’s look at some specific factors that spark an addiction.
Depression and anxiety get programmed into the brain much the same way addiction does. The dopamine rush of an addiction fix provides a temporary escape from this cycle of negative emotions.
The stove example illustrates the healthy way that fear is supposed to help us survive. However, extreme or repeated trauma causes an unhealthy level of fear.
For example, a child abused by a parent who is supposed to love them might learn to fear love, intimacy, and all relationships. Then, the only escape they find from this miserable existence is the dopamine rush of addiction.
For more information about this, with some excellent insight into this phenomenon, check out https://danapointrehabcampus.com/blog/2020/05/understanding-childhood-and-adolescent-trauma-to-shed-light-on-the-understanding-of-addiction/
Sometimes, addiction starts more innocently. You might be curious to experience new things, so you try drugs to broaden your horizons.
Unfortunately, many drugs are just naturally addictive. So, a drug you intended to try only once becomes an addiction.
In the same way, many people try drugs when coaxed by their peers. Then, they become unintentionally addicted.
Some people purposely try drugs just for the thrill of it. The rush of pleasure is so overwhelming, and the resulting crash so miserable, that they find themselves desperately craving more.
Some drugs are used to enhance certain abilities, as when an athlete begins using steroids. But, gradually, the body builds up a tolerance to these drugs. So the individual has to keep increasing their drug use to experience the same effects.
Hopefully, this knowledge will steer you away from these causes of addiction. Please, share this guide with others so they can benefit as well.