The Science Backing Addiction

Addiction involves intensely craving something, being unable to moderate the use of it, and repeatedly using it in spite of negative effects. Brain chemistry is altered by addiction – normal drives are corrupted and the ability of sufferers to experience pleasure gets subverted. While it can be quite difficult to break an addiction, it is not impossible. Addiction has a strong and long-lasting influence on an individual’s mind. It manifests itself in three different ways: causes intense cravings, a person being unable to control its use, and continuing to use even after adverse effects.

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New Insights Into an Old Condition

It is very rare for a person to purposefully plan to become addicted to a drug or substance, or even activities like using social media or gaming, which can result in them needing Gaming or Internet Addiction Therapy. Everyone is affected by addiction in some way. Check the latest stats from the U.S. government-23 million, or almost one in ten Americans, are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Alcohol is abused by almost 70% of addicts. The drugs that the most responsible for addiction include narcotics, cocaine, and marijuana.

Pleasure Principles

Pleasure is always registered by the human brain in the same way no matter what its origins are, including a big monetary victory, psychoactive drug use, a calorie-laden meal, or a sexual encounter. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released from the nucleus accumbens by the brain to signal pleasure. Located beneath the cerebral cortex, the nucleus accumbens is a nerve cell cluster that is often referred to by neuroscientists as the pleasure centre of the brain. A powerful dopamine dose is triggered inside the brain by addictive drugs such as heroin, cocaine, nicotine, and caffeine. Also, if a drug is used while engaging in an already rewarding activity, addictions develop more quickly since more dopamine gets released in a shorter amount of time and more reliably (at least in the beginning).

Early Learning Process

Scientists in the past believed that experiencing pleasure on its own made it difficult for addicts to break their addictions. However, it has been shown by recent research that the causes of addiction may be much more complex than that. For example, we know now that dopamine not only contributes to pleasurable feelings but plays an important role as well in learning and memory, which are two critical elements in moving from like something to having to use it on a daily basis. It is hypothesized by current theories that surround addiction that the neurotransmitters glutamate and dopamine interact with one another to highjack the reward-related learning system within the brain. The system is essential to sustain life since it connects activities that are critical for human survival with pleasure (consuming food and sex).

The brain adapts over time, which makes the sought-after substance, activity, or drug much less rewarding. In the natural world, effort and time usually preclude rewards. Addictive drugs and behaviours provide a shortcut to pleasure. It floods the brain with dopamine and other neurotransmitters. This onslaught can result in the brain becoming confused and compulsion takes over at this point. After the pleasure has subsided, wanting to recreate it and remembering its pleasurable effect persists. Normal motivation mechanisms basically are not in play any longer. The learning process discussed early is in play as well. Information is stored by the brain regarding the environmental stimulus that is associated with the drug of choice to be able to find it again. Memories (stored information) results in an intense craving-conditioned response every time environmental cues are encountered by the addict. Not only do cravings keep the addiction going, but relapse can also be triggered following a time of sobriety that was very hard-earned. For example, an addict recovering from heroin might be more likely to relapse after they see a hypodermic needle. On the other hand, a recovering alcoholic could be trigged into addiction once again after seeing a bottle of whiskey. Conditioned learning can help to uncover the reasons why some individuals seem to experience a serious relapse randomly after being abstinent for years. The science backing addiction is, of course, a field that is constantly evolving and many people hope that the discoveries from ongoing research studies will help pave the way in the future for addiction treatment protocols that are more ef