Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Programmed for Addiction: Can Someone Be Attracted to Substance Abuse

There are many different processes and functions within the body that go along with addiction.  The primary cause of addiction has been researched for many years, and there has been no discovery of a sole cause, but rather several different physical and mental factors that increase a person’s risk of addiction.  As far as the physical factors, there are various processes in the body which can contribute to addiction, but one of the main ones takes place within the brain.

Dopamine and the Role it Plays in Addiction

This physical process would be the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is connected to the reward and pleasure centers of the brain.  Drugs and alcohol actually cause the brain to produce much higher levels of dopamine, which is essentially like the brain saying “yes we like this, continue to do it.”  This can be such a powerful effect that addiction can technically be formed after the first use of a substance.  And while this is a very simple rundown of the process, scientists have taken this even further and actually determined that a portion of our brain called the prefrontal cortex is actually wired for addiction.  When dopamine is increased, this actually increases the number of synapses within the lower/prefrontal cortex, along with the ventral striatum of the brain.  The increased number of synapses developed from addiction brings about a situation where a person’s drug of choice will eventually outrank the synapses representing other likings.  Meaning, a person can begin to place their drug of choice above all else, even things they previously cared more about.

In this way, the brain kind of goes rogue.  It cannot detect unnaturally produced dopamine, and so these synapses continue to be produced, and the craving and desire for the drug of choice becomes stronger and deeper.  The brain essentially begins to believe that the drug or alcohol is involved in proper operation or helps it function better.  In summary, this is basically what is known as goal-pursuit in the brain.  When a person becomes addicted, the drug can begin to become their entire focus, whether it be where to find it, how to get the money for it, etc.  The brain is saying what feels good and to continue to go after it, which is the goal-pursuit mechanism.  When something is considered needed, good, or beneficial, the brain says to keep pursuing it.  In typical life, this is actually an immensely beneficial mechanism, as it keeps a person on the right track toward a goal or purpose, which can be many good things.  But drugs and alcohol can be mistaken for good things, which brings about a pursuit of something damaging.

Come Receive Addiction Treatment at Best Drug Rehabilitation

Addiction can be one of the most difficult conditions for an individual to struggle with, but fortunately, treatment can help them overcome it.  Here at Best Drug Rehabilitation, we offer extremely comprehensive treatment that is tailored to each individual person.  This allows the program to address the unique underlying issues and difficulties that are part of their addiction.  Handling these as part of treatment is important, as it helps to provide the individual the best chance at long-term sobriety. We help thousands to overcome the burden of addiction every single year and would like to do the same for you or your loved one. Give us a call today, and one of our staff will answer any questions that you may have about our program.

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