People who become addicted to drugs are often more susceptible to it because of the makeup of chemicals in their brains. It doesn’t necessarily mean they can become instantly addicted, but it does mean that continued use of drugs or alcohol is going to make it harder for them to stop. If you're searching for a Wilmington drug and alcohol treatment center, call Legacy for affordable treatment options.
Research has shown that some people have fewer dopamine receptors in their brains. Dopamine is the chemical responsible for pleasure and motivation. When there are fewer receptors taking in the chemical, a person is likely to have problems with depression. When someone uses drugs, the brain releases a lot of dopamine – more than a normal brain would – making the user feel happy and content in a way they have never felt before. Scientists haven’t discovered exactly why some people have more receptors in their brains than others, but they believe it has to do with genetic and environmental factors.
While taking a drug or getting drunk for the first time may not instantly make someone an addict, it can trigger the impulse to continue taking these substances in order to have the same good feelings again and again. Some addicts have said that the first time they took drugs, it seemed to have filled a hole they didn’t know was there before. It’s likely that someone with fewer receptors in their brain felt the flood of chemicals more strongly than someone who was used to normal levels of it in their systems.
Addiction occurs when a person begins to crave the substance and doesn’t feel he or she has control over the decision to use it or not. The brain’s functions are changed because the way it registers pleasure is altered, and then it corrupts other internal drives such as reward and motivation. Our brains are wired to remember and reward good feelings, so it associates the release of dopamine with the drug or alcohol. The brain remembers it and wants to repeat it. The motivation or desire to get more drugs stems from this new lesson that the brain was taught.
If drug or alcohol use continues, the brain stops knowing how to function without it. Over time, a tolerance builds up making the brain need more of it in order to get the same feeling. There often even comes a point where the substance doesn’t even have an effect anymore, but the user still craves it because of past patterns. This is when the addiction becomes a compulsion.
The brain doesn’t forget past lessons, so when someone is in recovery, they can struggle with cravings because of triggers. If a recovering heroin addict sees a needle, he may feel an intense desire for the drug because he associates it with the pleasure he felt when he used the drug. This type of conditioned learning is why recovery is a life-long process.
There continues to be research done on the connection between brain function and addiction, which will lead to new developments into how to prevent and treat substance abuse problems.
Holistic Wilmington Drug And Alcohol Treatment Center | Legacy Freedom
Don’t let addiction take over your life. You can get help at Legacy Freedom Treatment Center right here in Wilmington, NC. Our outpatient programs make it easy to get the help you need without having to take a leave of absence from school or your job. Call us today to find out how we’re different from other treatment centers. Our holistic approach means that we consider all aspects of your recovery. We have a variety of therapy programs to meet your individual needs. An admissions counselor is waiting to hear from you.