Chapter: 2 Understanding Addiction

Understanding Addiction

In this chapter I’ll try to make you understand about addiction, so keep on reading. Some part of our brain releases a chemical called dopamine due to certain behaviour and that chemical gives pleasure or satisfaction. These feelings of satisfaction become a desire and the person wants to repeat the same behaviour that causes release of dopamine.

For example, food and sex releases dopamine, that’s why people want to eat food (especially sweet food because it releases more dopamine) even they are full and wants to have sex even they don’t need a child or even when it isn’t a right time.

Similarly, pleasure or satisfaction gained by release of dopamine causes impacts on brain and helps users to learn quickly to do those behaviour which releases dopamine. That’s why even a small child learns to suck mother’s milk easily. And that’s why it is not very hard to learn to watch TV because various scenes of TV also help to release dopamine.

All the activity which releases dopamine can make you addict. But some substances like drug, cigarette, alcohol and behaviour like gambling can make you addict easily and can cause a lots of damage. These kinds of substances directly stimulate the part of our brain which releases dopamine. Thus it causes to release two-ten times more amount of dopamine than our brain releases normally, giving the user sense of rush or high (extreme pleasure). And if an activity or use of substance releases more amount of dopamine then we will learn more quickly to do that activity or use that substance. That’s why due to release of more dopamine user learns to use the substances like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes more quickly. And slowly, slowly due to continuous use, it becomes a habit to use that substance and to get that much pleasure.

Overtime due to prolong use of such substances brain stops to release as much dopamine as it previously used to release when using such substances. This increases the level tolerance leading to physical dependency. That’s why person needs to involve in more intense use of such substances just to feel normal or to get that kind of pleasure experienced in initial use of such substances. This works like vicious circle which will be difficult to break.

Thus, due to quicker process of learning, increasing in level of tolerance and formation of habit to use such substance, user becomes a addict. As a result, the user loses control over the act of taking addicted substance or engaging in addicted activity. So he/she tries to engage in such activity or use such substance as much as he cans even forgetting all kind of responsibility.

In this way, addiction happens.

photo credit: Neil. Moralee via photopin cc