PSYCHOLOGY AND ADDICTION
- June 21, 2018
The main problem with drugs is not necessarily the substance itself, but the way the brain becomes dependent on the material to function normally. Dependency is a painful cycle of trying to quit the substance and giving into using the substance again to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Dopamine, just one of the “Feel Good” neurotransmitters, is a primary player in getting the average individual hooked on the drug.
When we get dopamine, we feel great. However, when we lose the usual amount of dopamine we were receiving from something, like a drug, our brain cannot handle it. That is when the withdrawal starts.
Almost everyone had heard of withdrawal, but many may not understand the severity of withdrawal symptoms:
- Mood Swings
- Nausea and Vomiting
These withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance one is trying to abstain from. However, the majority of these symptoms are experienced across all substances. The reason the user’s body reacts so harshly to abstinence is that when habits are practiced long enough, the neurons in the brain become hardened and accustomed to those habits, so when those habits are abruptly stopped, the brain has to rewire itself and break those neuronal connections. That is a painful process to endure.
The withdrawal symptoms are not what kills the individual. Overdose is the biggest killer of drug users because users build up a tolerance to the drug, which means they need more and more of the substance to achieve the original effects. What users do not realize is that after abstaining for a while from the drug, their body is not prepared for the same amount of substance they needed to take before they abstained for a few weeks and so the user ends up taking too much of their drug and death results because the body cannot handle it.
So, the way that an addiction occurs is by the user taking drugs long enough for their body to become physically and, as a result, psychologically dependent on the drug. Once dependence forms, the user may realize that when they want to stop using the drug, they literally cannot do so. After continuing the drug because quitting is no longer an option, the user realizes that he or she has to up the dosage to experience the same potent effects of the drug as before. This preoccupation with the drug forms and lifestyle changes start taking effect.
Now the user is avoiding social events because taking the drug is more important, more desired. Things like work and relationships with others start getting blocked out and tunnel vision results. Fixation takes over the life of the user, and now he or she has to lie, become defensive, experience anger and bouts of depression to cover up the drug use. Abstaining proves difficult when the withdrawal symptoms start up again, relapse occurs, and the cycle continues.
Asana Recovery understands the real psychological struggles that users experience when trying to quit a substance or overcome the harmful effects of drug use. Some may believe that they can overcome their drug use without outside assistance, but rehabilitation programs exist because fighting the battle alone is extraordinarily difficult. Letting trained professionals who hold no judgment assist you through the process, is the easiest way to move toward recovery.
We are deeply committed to ensuring long-term recovery with a supportive, relaxing environment. For guidance, call us at 949-438-4504 to learn more about our treatment programs.