For so many years, it was a commonly held belief that those who battled with addiction chose to do so – and it’s perpetuated harmful stigmas surrounding moral strength, laziness, etc. Scientists have been studying the realm of addiction for well over a decade and have found that while the initial substance use is in many cases a person’s choice, the continued use of that substance develops into a disease of addiction that most people don’t ask for. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes that drugs change the brain in ways that make it incredibly difficult to quit – and that’s why this disease has taken so many lives.

Dr. Jillian Hardee, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan, explained in 2017 that once substances have altered the chemical and structural makeup of the brain, drug-seeking becomes almost like a reflex; in a “healthy” brain, the reward center brings out feelings of pleasure (such as with food, sex, exercise and more) – but with drugs, that reward center becomes flooded with those “feel good” chemicals called dopamine. Dr. Hardee noted, “Drugs release two to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards release. How much is released depends on the type of the drug; amphetamines, for example, release more dopamine than cocaine.”

The disease progresses as the brain becomes used to the amount of dopamine being released – and, in turn, demands more in order to keep up with the pattern it’d grown accustomed to. It’s not until help is sought and prolonged recovery measures, including detoxification, have taken place to help break the cycle.

If you or a loved one are ready to seek help from addiction, 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