The Science of Addiction

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For many people, addiction is seen as a social condition. Those who end up addicted to drugs are often seen as morally weak. They are expected to simply stop their behavior and make better choices for themselves. And in fact sometimes that happens. However, this is not usually the case. There is a science behind addiction and a reason that some people become addicted while others do not. Science is proving that addiction is easiest to overcome with treatment.

Addiction Defined

What exactly is addiction? This is a compulsion where an individual is consumed by a driving need to use drugs. This is in spite of dire consequences to the person’s life, including physical health, family, friends, and financial security. The use of these drugs leads to a restructuring of the brain. While people do initially have control when they first try a drug, over time they will start to lose that control as well as their ability to make sound choices as they are essentially retraining the brain on how to function. This causes an intense desire to use drugs. Again, this is all due to changes that are taking place in the brain.

Addiction and the Brain

You might be wondering what exactly happens to the brain when someone is on drugs. Drugs interfere with the communication system of the brain. They change the way nerve cells send, receive, and process information. This is done by either mimicking the natural ‘feel good’ chemicals our brains produce, or by over-stimulating the reward center in our brains.

Why Some Become Addicted and Others Do Not

It is natural to wonder why some people become addicted while others are not affected. There are a number of reasons for this. Science is giving us a better understanding of addiction and how it works. There are three main factors that can influence who becomes addicted to drugs and who does not.

Keep in mind that these are risk factors. They do not predetermine if someone is going to become addicted or not. They only make it more likely that someone will struggle with drugs should they try them. The more risk factors a person has, the more likely they are to struggle with addiction.

Risk Factors

Biology is one of the leading risk factors when it comes to addiction. The genetics a person has in combination with their environment are responsible for 50% of the vulnerability someone has with drugs. Other biological factors like gender, mental disorders, and ethnicity all influence addiction.

After biology, environment is another major factor that can play a role in the life of someone struggling with addiction. The environment around us can include many different influences, such as family dynamics, friends, economic status, as well as many other facets that make up the quality of a person’s life. Abuse, peer pressure, and other social factors also play a huge role in addiction.

Our development is the third risk factor that can influence additive tendencies in people. The earlier a person starts taking drugs, the more likely it is that the use will become more serious as time goes on. Taking drugs at this point is extremely dangerous for many reasons. First, teens and adolescents are more likely to experiment with risky behavior. When drugs become involved, teens can make choices that have far reaching consequences. Also, their brains are not done developing. Drugs can cause damage and hinder their development.

Getting Help

It is important to get help for someone who is struggling with addiction. This is usually not something that will correct itself. It is a serious issue that requires professional and often times medical intervention. Very few people are able to break out of their addiction without some kind of help.  St. Gregory Recovery Center is an excellent facility that can help treat an issue with abuse or addiction.

Understanding addiction is another vital step. Loved ones also need to learn about addiction and understand their role in it. There are support groups for people affected by addiction. These can be incredibly helpful, especially when it comes to the recovery process. Understanding why some people become addicted and some do not is a very good start.

Get the help you need today. Addiction is serious, but there is treatment for it. With the right kind of care, addiction can be overcome. Take the first step and contact a professional from a rehab center right away.

Our graduates tell their stories…

When first arriving at St. Gregory I had mixed feelings about the health and wellness workouts. I came in at 136 lbs and didn’t think it was possible to reach...
- Chris
The good life is not merely a life free from addictions, physical and/or psychological—addictions that usually are the outward manifestations of deeper problems—but a life lived in harmonious balance, free...
- Matt
I came to St. Gregory’s at my all-time worst—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having gone through a bad rehab experience once before, I had been very reluctant in succumbing to that...
- CJ
No matter where I start my thought process when reflecting upon my time before, during and after St. Gregory’s, I always seem to end up in the same place in...
- Kaele


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