Fight Addiction

Can you fight addiction? Fighting against addiction is easier said than done but not something that is impossible to do. It is the addict who has to go through the tough journey of rehabilitation and only he knows what he is going through. Scientists believe that substance addiction (marijuana, cocaine, nicotine, tobacco, alcohol etc) and activity addiction (pathological gambling, non stop shopping, uninhibited sexual activities etc) both alter brain processes which make addiction not only a pleasure seeking activity but also a part of memory.

Transforming Into An Addict From Just An Admirer

Psychologists used to believe that addicts were morally shallow beings but now science has proved that addiction is linked to a chronic disease rather than moral degradation. Addiction brings changes to the brain cell structure and alters its normal functioning thus hijacking the brain. Brain’s ‘nucleus accumbens’ (pleasure center) detects pleasure and when it is active it releases ‘dopamine’ (a neurotransmitter). Any substance abuse causes dopamine surge in the pleasure center.

How Fast A Person Gets Addicted To Any Particular Substance Depends on

The addiction rate of the substance is directly proportional to the speed (rate and extent) and intensity of dopamine released in the pleasure center of the brain.

The method by which that substance is used also affects the addiction rate. For example, if someone smokes or eats tobacco, they may become nicotine addict not as soon as someone who takes uses unchecked nicotine gums.

The dopamine surge registered on ‘hippocampus’ with satisfactory feelings causes ‘amygdala’ (a part of brain connected to hippocampus) to produce a conditioned response to a specific stimuli attached with the substance/activity of abuse. This way this dopamine surge gets itself linked with the learning and memory of the person by interacting with the reward circuit of the brain.

The interaction of dopamine with the ‘glutamate’ (a neurotransmitter) activates the system that deals with the life’s necessary human survival activities (eating/sex) and this system in return is linked with reward and pleasure. Reward circuit affects the pleasure, memory and motivation of the person. The substance addiction and behavioral addictions both give a surge to the reward center. And this is how they become a part of memory and the learning process of a person.

How To Fight Addiction

This learning process of liking addictive substance will cause the ‘nucluesaccumbens’ (pleasure center) and ‘prefrontal cortex’ (area of brain that plans and takes actions) to become active and this is the reason why a person besides knowing the harmful effects of that addiction, still follows the same path, seeking pleasure.

Worst of all, if the addict keeps on seeking pleasure then due to development of tolerance against the addicted activity or substance, the addict needs more of it for the satisfaction.

This is why people who start with the intention of seeking pleasure fall into its snare of abuse. Alcohol abusing patients, drug abusing patients and behavioral activity related addictions all show that the addict starts them because he finds them cool, but then he gets caught in the whirlpool of abuse, tugging him deeper and deeper with every use.

If you plan on fighting against addiction, do not underestimate the power of addiction which has already made necessary changes in your brain. This will make this fight against addiction a tough one.

But keep in mind, it is not something that can’t be done, it is totally doable and plenty of people do it in their life. Always remember, if you want to fight addiction, go and fight a good fight and be a conqueror. The best way, though, is to just stay away from any substance or activity that may drag you down with it.

Also Read: Are You An Addict? Rule Yourself Out