Pain. Anger. Sadness. These are just a few of the negative emotions that we all experience from time to time – but when times get hard, it feels almost unbearable – and that’s when many of us find ourselves reaching for alcohol or illicit drugs to numb the discomfort. It all happens so quickly, and then it becomes habitual – which makes it even more challenging to simply “quit”. Addiction is a complex brain disease that can disrupt nearly every aspect of a person’s life but understanding how negative emotions are linked to substance abuse can help us find strategic ways to stop before it gets worse.

Dr. Satoshi Ogawa, lecturer of physiology at Monash University Malaysia, explains that addiction activates the reward center of the brain; the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is released and this is what causes those “feel good” sensations which pleasurable activities are involved, such as food, sex, drugs and more. He stated, “All drugs of abuse, from nicotine to heroin, cause a particularly powerful surge of dopamine, so even without any of those ‘happy triggers’, dopamine levels will increase so it’s an instant way to feel good. Also, with drugs, the sensation is much more robust and heightened.”

It’s this instantaneous “feel good” sensation that draws many people to substance abuse, especially when negative emotions are present. The issue with this is that those negative emotions will always come back because it’s how humans work – and, if negative emotions aren’t dealt with properly, say from a traumatic event, they’ll certainly come back even if substances take away the pain for a while.

Recovery is about learning healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the discomfort of painful emotions. There are a number of effective interventions that can help a person regain stability in their lives; if you’re ready to seek help, speak with a professional from Alta Loma today.

If you’re ready to begin taking great strides towards your health and wellbeing, speak with a professional from Alta Loma today. Mental illness should be taken seriously and, if not treated early on, more severe conditions can arise. The best way to promote happiness and health is to seek help – and to begin using effective interventions for treating the problematic symptoms a person is experiencing. Don’t wait any longer to seek the help you need. Please call Alta Loma today – and you’ll be surrounded by a healthcare team who truly cares about your recovery. 866-457-3843


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.