The Truth About Addiction: How it Hijacks the Brain

Addiction Addiction involves an intense craving over something, losing control over its use, and continuing involvement with it even though a person is aware of its adverse consequences. This condition changes the way the brain functions. First, it subverts the way it registers pleasure. Afterwards, it corrupts other normal functionalities, such as learning and motivation.

For many years, experts believed that the only causes of addiction are alcohol and drugs. Technological advancements and more recent research, however, have revealed that other pleasurable activities, such as shopping, gambling, and sex, can also produce the same effects on the brain. shares more information below:

The Beginning

When researchers first began to focus on the possible causes of addictive behavior back in the 1930s, they believed that people who developed these conditions were somehow lacking in willpower or are morally flawed. Back then, they thought that the only way to overcome addiction is by punishing lawbreakers or encouraging them to do whatever it takes to break the habit.

Of course, the scientific consensus has made huge changes since then. Today, people recognize addiction as a type of chronic disease which changes both a person’s brain structure and function. To better understand how it hijacks the brain, think about how diabetes impairs the pancreas and a cardiovascular disease damages the heart. This occurs as the brain undergoes a series of changes, starting with the recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive towards compulsive behavior.

The Numbers

According to the latest statistics from the government, nearly 23 million Americans (almost one in every 10 people) are suffering from addiction to alcohol or other drugs. The  three most addiction-causing drugs are marijuana, opioid (narcotic) pain relievers, and cocaine. As for alcohol abuse, more than two-thirds of people with addiction problems are said to have alcohol problems, too.

Cravings contribute not only to addiction, but to a possible relapse after a person has achieved sobriety.  For complete addiction recovery, especially for women, a properly designed treatment should be considered.