Addiction is a very complex disease. But nearly a century’s worth of scientific research has enabled researchers to better understand how it works.
This research led to a major shift in the way that we think about addiction treatment. It is now considered a disease of the brain and not an individual failing or choice.
Addiction is often associated with substance abuse.
Experts Can Recognize Two Types:
• Chemical Addiction: A chemical addiction is one that involves the use and abuse of drugs.
• Behavior addiction: These are compulsive and persistent behaviors. These are persistent, repeated behavior patterns that you persist in even though they do not offer any real benefit.
How does Addiction work?
Before you get into the different types, it is important to understand the fundamental elements of addiction.
The Reward System
Addiction can lead to disruptions in brain function, including the reward system.
Enjoying something, whether it’s drinking a glass of wine with your best friend or using cocaine, is a reward system that releases the neurotransmitter .
Contrary the popular belief, dopamine appears to not actually produce feelings of pleasure or joy. Instead, dopamine appears to reinforce the association between certain things with feelings of pleasure and drive you to seek them out again.
Cravings and Tolerance
A desire to feel that euphoria over again can cause cravings for the substance/behavior, especially if you come across the same cues (like drinking parties). These cravings are often the first sign you may be addicted.
Your brain releases more dopamine each time you use a substance, or engage in a particular behavior. Your brain eventually begins to recognize there is sufficient dopamine within your brain, and it starts producing less in response to the normal triggers.
The problem is, however, that your brain’s reward mechanism still needs the same amount.
In order to make up for the lack of drug release, you’ll need to consume more. This is tolerance.
Loss of Control
An addiction is a condition whereby you are unable to control your substance use or certain behaviors. This can lead, among others, to job loss, relationship issues, and health issues.
You might choose to quit the drug or behavior in response. But you may find yourself failing, despite your best efforts.
What Should You Know About Chemical Addiction?
It can be difficult for people to talk about chemical dependence because there is so much confusion about what constitutes substance abuse, dependency, and addiction.
This is why, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition (DSM-5), the term “substance usage disorder” was recommended. It provides additional diagnostic criteria that can help healthcare professionals to distinguish between mild, severe, and moderate cases.
It is also preferred by many experts because it does not use the term “abuse,” which can further stigmatize people with addiction and make it difficult for them to seek help.
Common Signs And Symptoms Are:
• The intensity of your cravings can interfere with your ability to think about others.
• Unease and discomfort that you can’t access the substance
• Ridiculous substances such as using them while driving or at work can be dangerous.
• Substance use can make it difficult for you to manage your school, work, and household responsibilities.