What is Addiction?
A neurological impairment that leads to continuous repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences.
People with Addiction do things that defy explanation. Despite all the bad things that happen or could happen when they take drugs, they continue to seek out, procure and imbibe in substances that their brain craves. This craving is so intense, the brain justifies irrational behavior that might include theft, prostitution, starvation, neglect, and reckless actions.
It is a chronic relapsing disease, the same as diabetes or asthma.
Addiction is a disease. It has specific symptoms that are created by using drugs. It is Chronic because there is no cure. With treatment, an addict can be in recovery and manage their disease, but they will never fully be free. It is relapsing, addicts that are clean for short and long periods of time will find “Triggers” that cause their brain to seek out old stimuli that include drugs.
Physiological dependence occurs when the body has to adjust to the substance by incorporating the substance into its normal functioning. This creates the tolerance and withdrawal effects.
The “High” that is achieved from drugs, results from flooding the brain with dopamine. The brain adjusts to these abnormal levels to replace balance. This new balance, or tolerance, requires the greater quantities of the drug to create a “High”. This cycle progresses quickly and the new balance requires a continuous presence of the drugs. Without the presence of the drugs the brain and the body go into withdraw.
More Information On Addiction:
Harvard mental Health Newsletter: How Addiction Hijacks the Brain
Shatterproof: The Science of Addiction
National Center for Biotechnology Information: Imaging the Addicted Human Brain