Addiction is a very confusing issue, and even the experts haven’t fully grasped the complexity of this medical/psychological condition. You might wonder how you became addicted to drugs or alcohol, but you can gain some understanding by knowing the facts.
You’ve probably heard that addiction has genetic links, but why does one sibling become an addict while the other doesn’t? It’s not a moral dilemma or that someone didn’t say “No,” but it’s about the disease aspects. When you consider medical issues like diabetes, cancer, auto-immune disorders, and many other things, your parent having such a condition increases your chance of developing it too. Someone with mental health issues like Schizophrenia makes their offspring up to 50 percent more susceptible to it. So, one sibling may have lucked out while you’re stuck dealing with this brain chemistry issue.
No one grows up with the desire to become an addict, as it’s just not something you aspire to be in life. However, addiction starts in your brain, and it changes the way your brain functions. It’s hard to control, no matter the consequences because your brain is prone to drug-seeking. It would help if you thought of dependence as a biopsychological condition, as it combines your genetic makeup with your social and psychological aspects. The key is that it can be treated and prevented, just as medical conditions like type II diabetes.
People who don’t maintain a good weight, consume lots of sugars, and don’t exercise are more apt to get diabetes than those who live and eat healthily. So, you’re more prone to have an addiction issue if you don’t monitor your overall wellbeing.
Changes Within Your Brain
Dependency issues rob your brain by altering the way it functions. For a person to become addicted, three aspects come into play, they are:
- Reward centers are altered – The basal ganglia part of your brain is responsible for both the pleasure and rewards system, and substance abuse alters this section to exaggerate the feel-good sensations.
- Quitting causes great stress – You learn to become dependent on these substances because the extended amygdala stresses you out when you don’t have them. It makes you irritable and anxious. So, you’re more likely to keep using to quit feeling these overwhelming mental health issues.
- You can’t make good decisions – Your brain’s executive function happens in the prefrontal cortex. Your decision-making abilities are altered by the drugs and alcohol you consume. So one exposure makes you think that you can’t live without it, as you’ve affected this vital area. When you eat something that tastes good, your basal ganglia make a feel-good chemical that makes you crave it more. So, you remember that feeling and want to eat it repeatedly. The extended amygdala can make you feel anxious and trigger your “fight or flight” response to go into overdrive. Taking drugs or alcohol alters these three areas, so their responses are either amplified or blunted.
Why Are You Addicted?
Over the past few years, experts have just begun to understand the true brain involvement in addiction. It’s a disease because it alters your brain and puts you at risk for relapse. Sure, you make a conscious decision the first time you use it, but since your brain is different, that first use has a more profound impact on you. Someone else may use cocaine and never touch it again, but someone with the hardwired issues inside a brain like yours would become an addict. It’s all about chemicals or behaviors, and some people are just predisposed to addiction.
Addiction doesn’t have to define your life, as you have the power to overcome it. The key is understanding that you don’t have to fight this disease alone. We have counselors ready to help you start your journey towards sobriety. Like any other medical condition, you need the right treatments and people in your life to become healthy. Call us today at 833-497-3808 to make the first step in taking control of your life.