No one chooses to become a drug addict or alcoholic, to wake up in the morning thinking only about their next fix. Addiction is a disease of the brain that affects your thinking and your judgment, which explains why people will continue to compulsively use when their jobs, their relationships, even their very survival is at stake before seeking help at a drug addiction treatment center.

What Causes Drug Addiction?

People who have suffered trauma or who have a family history of substance abuse are at much greater risk for addiction, especially if they begin using drugs or alcohol at a young age. People with mental health problems who self-medicate with substances are also highly vulnerable to addiction. Addictions form when a user begins to require a substance to feel normal. Their tolerance increases over time requiring more and more of a substance to feel the same high. Over time, the more and more of the substance you use can lead to harmful long-term effects to your body.

Why Can’t I Stop on My Own?

Long-term drug use causes changes in the brain’s wiring, making quitting difficult even for people who want to do so. Drugs target the brain’s reward system, flooding it with the “pleasure chemical” dopamine. The temporary burst of dopamine is responsible for the euphoria drug users crave. Users continue to chase that sense of euphoria with every use of a substance, leading to addiction.

But when the flood ends, the person is left yearning to feel the way he or she once did. That’s how addiction happens. Soon, drug users need their substance of choice just to feel normal or to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Feeding an addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. Physical dependence can develop from an addiction, meaning your body adapts to the substance, increasing the amount need to feel similar effects.

Other Types of Addictions

Addiction is not limited to alcohol and other drugs. People can also get “high” from activities such as gambling, shopping, eating, viewing pornography and playing video games. Called behavioral addictions, these activities provide a psychological rush that can also result in ruined lives, relationships, and careers. These produce short-term rewards for the user. Studies have found that behavioral addiction is a failure to resist an impulse that causes harm to others. Though they may not be as immediately harmful as substance addiction, behavioral addiction will still affect aspects of the user’s everyday life.

Addressing addiction is the first hurdle to overcome when seeking treatment. It’s not easy to reach out for drug addiction treatment, but we know how to get you the help you need to build a new life and a lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is in need of a drug addiction treatment center, call 1.713.528.3709 today to speak to a recovery advisor.