Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a chronic and complex disease that affects millions of lives. This can often lead to confusion and misunderstanding on just how addiction can impact someone’s body and brain. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, it is important to know that addiction can not be fought on sheer willpower alone. Dangerous and life-threatening symptoms can ensue, and professional treatment is always required. It is never too late to get on the road to recovery. 

Who Can Develop an Addiction?

Addiction can happen to anyone. There are a variety of factors at play, however, that can heighten a person’s level of risk for developing the disease. These include a person’s prior medical history, current medications, and genetics. There is no timeline for when an addiction will develop, and nobody plans on developing an addiction. This unpredictability makes drug and alcohol abuse inherently more dangerous. Addiction does not have a certain appearance. Many people suffer in silence. Those who are struggling with this illness may have worked a desk job, been a firefighter, or studied hard as a student. While this disease may have sprung up a roadblock, there is always hope for recovery. 

There is a stigma surrounding addiction that those who are struggling with an addiction are criminals, engage in dangerous activities, and should be ashamed of their behavior. This stigma could prevent someone who deserves treatment from seeking the proper medical care because they feel guilty and shameful. While someone should always be held accountable for their actions, they should be positively guided down the right path. If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, try to resist passing judgment and instead offer support. 

How Does Addiction Affect The Brain?

Addiction is considered a brain disease by the medical community. When drugs or alcohol enter your system, they have a direct impact on how your brain functions. Your brain’s reward system is the area that is most heavily influenced. Normally, when something positive happens, your brain responds by releasing dopamine. This makes you feel good and is a natural response. However, drugs and alcohol cause your reward system to act abnormally. Levels of dopamine skyrocket, causing a temporary euphoric feeling beyond natural levels. 

The body and brain not able to replicate this same feeling without the use of drugs and alcohol. This causes a person to experience relentless cravings and compulsive behavior. Among a wide range of varying symptoms, a person may experience mood changes, behavioral changes, and abnormal sleeping patterns. As the disease progresses, symptoms typically worsen and can include heart problems, coma, and death. However, any symptom of addiction can be life-threatening. In order to recover from this disease, a person will need to enroll in professional treatment. 

When Should Someone Seek Help? 

Addiction should never be left untreated. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, it is important to seek help as soon as possible to limit any adverse effects. Without treatment, symptoms will not improve. Trying to treat addiction at home can lead to relapse, painful withdrawal symptoms, and overdose. Enrolling in a treatment program overseen by medical professionals at Clay Behavioral Health Center can provide you with a safe and comfortable environment, which will foster growth. It is never too late to turn over a new leaf and get on the road to recovery. Contact us today to begin your new life without addiction.

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