Tag Archives: why

Why Do Some People Become Addicted to Drugs While Others Do Not?

There is not a simple answer to that question, unfortunately. Addiction is a life-long and multifaceted disease that can affect someone at any point in their life. Everyone’s brain is different and will respond differently when an addictive substance is introduced.

Furthermore, over time and continued use, the substance actually changes the brain’s chemistry and the cell structure, particularly in the regions that control learning, decision-making, stress, memory, and judgment and behavior. This is the reason someone with an addiction can’t just “give it up” like someone without. Their brain has actually changed. These changes can happen quickly and at any time, which is why someone can become addicted at any point in their lives, without even realizing it.

Having said that, there are certain factors that appear to be important to whether or not someone develops an addiction.

Factors of Addiction

  • Biology Many addictive predispositions, like gender or memory disorders are attributed to genetic components. Additionally, people with underlying psychiatric conditions are at greater risk of becoming addicted. Particularly people who are unaware of having a mental illness may begin using substances to self-medicate and alleviate their symptoms. While the offspring of people who have addiction often develop an addiction themselves, there is no one “addiction gene.”
  • Social Environment Often times, addiction may occur within family groups because they all exist within a similar social environment. This factor includes the environment at home, at school or work. It includes one’s family and friends, as well as socio-economic status and general quality of life.
  • Human Development Though people can become addicted at any age, younger people who use drugs or alcohol have a higher likelihood of developing an addiction. This is because the vulnerable parts of the brain are still developing, like those that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control.
  • Trauma Going through a traumatic experience, like abuse, neglect, or losing a loved one early in life can make one easily susceptible to addiction.

Addiction is a biological chemical reaction that a person cannot control. It is not a moral failing or a lack of desire or effort. Fortunately, addiction is absolutely treatable and can be managed with support and counseling. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, our counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you get treatment. Call 800-737-0933

Is Addiction Truly a Disease?

Finding the courage to get help battling addiction is difficult, especially when the addict and those around him fail to see addiction as a disease. Because many addicts made a choice at some point to drink alcohol or try a drug, people often view addiction as a choice or lack of morality and willpower. This is not the case, however. Addiction is considered a disease for several reasons. Understanding them can help both an addict and his or her loved ones come to a better understanding of addiction. These are the reasons addiction is considered to be a disease.

Biology

Studies of addiction have shown that there is a 40 to 60 percent chance that an individual may be susceptible to addiction based on genetics. Those with addicts in their family tree are more likely to become addicts themselves and are likely to become addicted to a given substance more quickly than others. Mental illness also increases the likelihood of addiction as it alters the way the brain functions.

The Brain is Hardwired for Addiction

The human brain has evolved in a way that inadvertently invites addiction. When the body does something that feels good, like eating, exercising or having sex, the brain releases dopamine to encourage the behavior. These activities are necessary for survival, so the brain rewards the body for them with a hit of dopamine and positive feelings. Drugs and alcohol can overstimulate the brain, causing it to bathe itself in a sea of excess dopamine. This makes the person feel so good that they want to repeat the experience. As drug usage continues, the brain must get used to functioning with an excess of dopamine and forgets how to work without it. Over time, drug use stops affecting only the brain’s pleasure center and begins affecting other chemicals. The result is changes in all of the following:

  • Learning
  • Judgement
  • Decision-making
  • Stress levels
  • Memory
  • Behavior

Relapse Cycles

Many diseases are manageable and treatable but not curable. In this way too, addiction is like a disease. Although addictions can be overcome and beaten, staying sober requires lifelong vigilance. Once the chemistry of the brain is altered by addiction, relapse is always possible. The body may continue to crave and desire drugs and alcohol even though an individual has not been using them. This pattern is similar to other diseases that sometimes go into remission but can become active again later.

When understood as a disease, it’s east to see why addiction requires professional treatment. No one expects a diabetic or cancer patient to get well on their own, and the same should be true of those suffering from addiction. If you or someone you love is battling this disease, get help today by calling 800-737-0933. The path to freedom from addiction starts with a simple phone call.

Why Do People Start Using Drugs?

Drug use and awareness of it has become more prevalent in our society in the past few years. There’s a chance that you or someone you know has been affected directly or indirectly by some type of drug use. There is a reason that each individual addicted to drugs starts using at some point. That first step is a path towards addiction that is full of twists, turns, and unexpected obstacles.

  • Some people start using drugs because their friends are doing it. It might seem like everyone else is doing it, and choosing not to use is a choice that may make someone feel ostracized with their peers. Those who are using typically encourage others to join in on the fun, and from there use escalates in frequency and quantity.
  • Others choose to start using drugs because they are bored and the effects look like fun. Maybe it’s been a stressful day and someone wants to wind down. Sitting around and watching television or reading a book may not be nearly as appealing as having a drink with some friends or sitting in a circle smoking marijuana while socializing. After they’ve experienced the high the drugs offer, they are an appealing alternative to dealing with the everyday trials and tribulations in life.
  • Relaxation is yet another reason people give for trying drugs. Work, school, kids, family and everyday life are all common stressors in life that everyone tries to deal with in their own way. Some people exercise, others play video games and some choose to use drugs as a way to kickback and relax. The feeling can be similar to not caring, such as with marijuana, or a euphoric feeling which is experienced when someone uses opiates.
  • Curiosity and fitting in are strong reasons that addicts give for starting to try various drugs. People who feel bullied, like they don’t have a lot of friends or don’t have things in common with many people their age can have their curiosity sparked. If friends start using drugs, it may trigger a desire to try it out too in an attempt to keep a strong connection with their friends without being an outsider.

Watching a loved one, friend or family member go through drug addiction is a stressful time. There are options when an addict is ready to seek help. Give us a call at 800-737-0933 to start getting help now.