Featured Image Caption: Addiction
Figures show that over 20 million Americans have at least one addiction. Addiction can come in many forms, and it can affect anybody, from any background or walk of life. It’s a word that often has a lot of stigma attached to it, but what does it actually mean in practical terms?
What are the effects of addiction and what is the best way to recover from it? This guide will be taking a look at what it really means to be addicted to something, and how the cycle of addiction can potentially be broken.
Why We Become Addicted
People don’t wake up one day and decide to become addicted to a specific substance, so how then does it happen? This is a complex question with many answers.
There are a number of different reasons a person might become addicted to a substance. Biology, psychology, environment, and lifestyle choices can all be contributing factors. Genetics and a person’s upbringing both play a big role in deciding who may be more prone to addiction, as does the presence of a mental health disorder.
These things only help us to see who may be more at risk for developing an addiction, however. They are not clear indicators of who may or may not actually wind up with one. In truth, anyone can become addicted if the right set of circumstances arises.
The Effects of Addiction
Alcohol and drug addiction are now both recognized as medical disorders. Enough is not yet known about the stages of addiction and the effects of addiction on the brain, but as more research is conducted, we are learning more all the time.
When a person consumes drugs or alcohol, dopamine is released in the pleasure center of the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of happiness.
Eventually, the brain begins to rely on and adapt to the presence of drugs or alcohol and is thrown off balance when they are not there. This is what creates the intense need for those suffering from addiction to keep consuming drugs or alcohol.
Some of the effects addiction can have on those suffering from it include memory loss, impaired cognitive skills, poor decision making, and diminished impulse control.
Breaking the Cycle
The first step in overcoming addiction is to recognize that you have an issue with the substance in question. The second is to seek help, which can be hard to do for many people. In many cases, medications or therapies can make the change a little bit easier to overcome.
Because of the effects prolonged drug and alcohol misuse can produce in the brain, stopping consuming these substances is a great challenge for most people suffering from addiction.
There Is Always Hope
The effects of addiction are serious, which is why it shouldn’t go unchecked. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction issues, it can be a good idea to seek the advice of a medical professional. The first and often most difficult step toward recovery is being willing to talk about it.
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