Understanding Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Addiction issues are usually pervasive as well as misunderstood. It is considered to be a brain disease identified by a psychological as well as physical dependence on a particular drug, behavior, or alcohol. An addictive disorder happens when an individual engages in their toxic habits even if it puts themselves or those they care about in bad situations. The way an individual acts, thinks and feels is significantly impacted by their addiction. It is common for a person to know they have an addictive disorder but struggle to stop it without help.

Unintentional Addiction

Nobody has a desire to become an addict. There are many reasons an individual would experience an addiction. It could be the result of peer pressure or curiosity. Some people are trying to find a way to relieve the stress in their life. Individuals who grow up in a home where drugs and alcohol are regularly used have an increased chance of abusing a substance in the future.

Drug or Alcohol Addiction

It is accepted that addiction is a chronic medical condition. It results from changes that occur in a person’s brain function. Addiction is characterized by a person experiencing physical and psychological dependence. A person with an addiction is driven by compulsive behavior they struggle to control. They will try to obtain alcohol or drugs no matter how negatively it impacts their life.


It has been estimated by researchers that genetics are responsible for up to 60 percent of individuals developing addiction issues.

Mental Health Disorders

Adults and teens who have mental disorders have an increased chance of developing substance abuse issues when compared to the general population.


When individuals are engaged in an activity they enjoy, their brain releases its reward system. It lets dopamine into their body. This results in them experiencing feelings of extreme pleasure. When someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, the use of them can result in their brains letting large amounts of dopamine into their system. This will provide them with a sense of exaggerated pleasure. Their brains begin to associate the consumption of alcohol and drugs with this increased pleasure. This results in them experiencing an overwhelming desire to repeat the experience.

Repeated Exposure

As a person repeats their exposure to the alcohol or drugs, the unnaturally increased levels of dopamine released in their system causes their brain to try and restore their body to a normal physiological threshold. It will start to decrease the production of dopamine. Their brains then become less sensitive to dopamine. This causes people with an addiction to lose their ability to enjoy activities that used to bring them pleasure. They will then have an increased desire for the substance they are abusing.

Addiction Signs and Symptoms

There are certain common symptoms involved in the addiction process.

Withdrawal – When addicts don’t use their addictive substance it causes them significant emotional or physical discomfort.

Lack of Control – The use of an addictive substance by individuals will increase even if they try to cut down or stop.

Tolerance – An increasing amount of the addictive substance is necessary to produce a similar or same effect.

Time Spent – A considerable amount of time is taken to obtain and use an addictive substance.

Increasing Use – Even as their life is getting worse and becoming more dangerous, individuals increase the amount of the addictive substance they consume.

Cravings – Individuals experience a strong desire to use the addictive substance.

Loss of interest – Things that previously made an individual happy become unimportant and are neglected.

Priorities – The addictive substance becomes more important to an individual than paying their bills, their job, relationships, or any other type of obligation.

Recognizing Addiction

Determining if someone has a problem with substance abuse can be complicated. Some signs of addiction could be obvious and others may be a challenge to recognize. It is common when people know they have a problem, they attempt to hide it from family and friends. The media may depict people with substance abuse issues as individuals with low morals or criminals. The reality is there is not just one factor involved with addiction. People can develop behavior patterns of substance abuse no matter their financial status, age, or culture.

Alcohol and drug addiction are chronic conditions. People can receive treatment for them, but they will never be cured. Some of the best success has come from behavioral therapy used simultaneously with medication-assisted treatment. A personalized response to a person’s drug use history combined with dealing with their social, emotional, and medical issues increases the chances of recovery and long-term success. If you believe that you or a loved one could have a problem with addiction call us today at 833-497-3808. We can help you. Our counselors are available to speak with you 24 hours a day.