There are people who still think that addiction is a choice. In April 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine changed that by recognizing addiction as a brain disorder. By knowing what makes addiction a brain disorder, you will realize it is a disease that is hard to control and needs more answers in regards to treatment and a potential cure. 

How Does Addiction Impact the Brain’s Reward System?

Once you develop addiction, addictive behaviors replace healthy ones. Your reward system is also impacted by your memories of previous rewards. A biological or behavioral response will be triggered to make you want to indulge in these addictive behaviors again, leading to relapse even years after you last abused drugs. Even if you no longer feel pleasure in the drug, your brain is still telling you that you cannot live without it. This means that the frontal cortex of your brain is impacted which impacts your impulsivity. 

How Does Addiction Impact Your Impaired Control and Judgment?

Addiction can cause you to engage in more addictive behaviors than you intended. This can mean doing whatever it takes to get your hands on drugs like lying or stealing. Work and school used to be a priority until you discovered drugs which become your new priority. Because your thoughts are not clear, you could be continuing your substance abuse despite negative consequences. Addiction can also make it harder to seek help even though you know you have a problem. 

How Does Addiction Impact Your Emotions?

Addiction can lead to mental health changes like anxiety, depression, and emotional pain. Situations can end up being more stressful than usual because drugs impair your thoughts and emotions. It is hard for you to express your feelings to others who are trying to help you. This can help push people away without getting any help.

Why is it Important For Addiction to be Considered a Brain Disorder?

It used to be that knowing someone is exhibiting unusual behavior is a sign of addiction based on the answers on questionnaires. This new definition instead focuses on what is going on in your brain. This will help experts better understand the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual effects that addiction can have on you. By taking addiction seriously as a brain disorder, more efforts can be done just like debilitating diseases to find successful methods of treatment.

Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alta Loma is a transformative living center to help those struggling in early recovery to transition out of our Psychiatric and Substance Abuse inpatient center. Alta Loma believes that addiction is born from an untreated mental illness in which our facility is here to help you. Our facility offers residency, medication management education, individualized treatment, life skills education, 12-step support, and more tools to bring patients the confidence to be able to live an independent life. For more information, please call us at 866-457-3843.