The Science behind how Addiction Works in your Body

"DNA String Biology" by qimono via Pixabay (Public Domain CC 2.0)

"DNA String Biology" by qimono via Pixabay (Public Domain CC 2.0)

Derived from Latin, the word ‘addiction’ means to be ‘bound to’ or ‘enslaved by’, which will resonate with anyone who has experienced addiction issues or tried to support someone else with a problem. This is because addictive behaviors have a powerful influence on the brain and in cases of prolonged substance or alcohol abuse is manifested in three very distinct ways:

·         An increased craving for the addictive substance

·         Continued involvement in addiction despite adverse symptoms

·         Complete loss over control over using a substance or alcohol

How Research into Addiction has Progressed

In the early 20th century, researchers first began taking a closer look at the causes of addiction and theorized that it was the result of flawed character or lack of willpower. Because of this negative association with addiction at the time, it was thought that the only way to help someone overcome their issue was through punishment.

Fortunately, things have progressed considerably these days and we now recognize addiction as a chronic disease that alters the structure and function of the brain. Addiction has the potential to completely hijack the brain, replacing all external stimulus previously enjoyed in a healthy lifestyle with a compulsion to use substances or alcohol with more frequency.

The Pleasure Principle

The human brain registers all pleasure signals in exactly the same way, irrespective of whether they originate from drugs, alcohol, a cash win or a sexual encounter. Our brain instantly recognizes pleasure and releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into the cluster of nerve cells beneath the cerebral cortex referred to by neuro-scientists as the brain’s pleasure center. Using and abusing substances and alcohol provides a direct shortcut to the brain’s pleasure center by flooding it with dopamine, which sets a memory precedent of the sense of satisfaction gained from using. The part of the brain controlling emotions is called the amygdala, which recognizes certain stimuli like alcohol or drugs and creates a conditioned response to it.

Contact Capo Canyon Recovery for Alcohol and Drug Detox in Laguna Niguel, CA

When you understand the science behind addiction and how addiction affects the body, you can recognize the signs of addiction issues in yourself and others and determine when the time has come to seek professional help. Capo Canyon Recovery is a residential detox facility near Mission Viejo, CA where you can find your own path to living a life free from addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling to cope with addiction issues and live near either Lake Forest, CA or Aliso Viejo, CA, contact us for a confidential consultation today and take a step closer towards recovery.

Read More on the Blog: Myths about Addiction: DEBUNKED

Name *
Name