Not everyone understands how addiction happens. Why do some people drink alcohol all of the time and never develop an addiction to it? How come some people can use drugs whenever they want but never face addiction? Addiction is a complicated subject. It is also something that can impact many people in different ways. When you are facing it, it does not matter how addiction occurs. What matters is getting help. Fort Behavioral Health can offer that to you.
How Addiction Happens in the Brain
To understand how addiction occurs, we have to look at the way drugs interact with the brain. It is here that addiction forms. Many types of drugs affect the reward area or circuit of the brain. That means, when you use the drug, it triggers a euphoria-like feeling. It feels good – and that means the brain floods with dopamine, a feel-good chemical.
When you have a properly functioning reward system, the brain wants to encourage you to continue to engage in things that feel good. That’s why the brain encourages a person to repeat those behaviors. It needs to do this to thrive and function. For example, spending time with people you love creates the same type of reward reaction. This also happens when you eat food. These are good for your experiences. The drugs mimic that seem reaction in the brain. That’s why your brain encourages you to keep doing it.
What Happens Over a Period of Time?
As you explore how addiction happens, it’s also important to see what occurs over a period of time. The brain begins to adapt to the presence of drugs. One way it does this is to reduce the ability of your brain’s cells within the reward area to respond to it. That means, over time, the high you were getting isn’t happening anymore or does not have the same effect. You’ve gotten used to it.
You still want to have that experience, though. This leads to the desire to use more of the drug to get to it. Over time, the brain continues to change. They become less and less able to get pleasure from the things they used to enjoy. That includes things like social activities, love, sex, and food.
The presence of drugs in the brain long term also leads to damage or changes to the chemical systems and circuits. Just as we understand how addiction happens, the same processes apply to this damage. The more you use, the more damage occurs without the help from a substance abuse treatment program. This can impact various areas of the brain, including:
- Decision-making abilities
- Overall cognitive function
Addiction occurs, officially, when you understand that these risks are present – and that they can happen to you for using these drugs – and you continue to do so. At that point, you need professional help from a drug addiction treatment center to rewire your brain.
How Can Treatment Help This?
At Fort Behavioral Health, our team works with you to understand what’s happening in your brain and why. We want to help you to overcome the stressors you feel. We also want to ensure you are getting treatment for all of the changes that happen during addiction.
With a wide range of treatment programs and therapies, we can help you find your way forward. Our team options include:
- 12-step programs
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- EMDR therapy
- Drug and alcohol detox
Finding Your Way Forward Starts with a Call to Fort Behavioral Health
Learning how addiction happens is the first step in the path to getting healthy. Our team at Fort Behavioral Health wants to help you make it through to recovery. No matter how addiction occurs for you, we offer treatment plans that can help you. Reach out to us today by calling our counselors at 844.332.1807. Let us help you.