Is Addiction a Brain Disease?
Thursday 15th August 2013
Addiction is one of the biggest killers on the planet today. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that the harmful use of alcohol causes approximately 2.5 million deaths all around the globe each year. Not only that, they also say that about 15.3 million people are suffering with a drug use disorder.
Experts believe that addiction is a brain disease. Despite this, many people still struggle to classify it as one. I mean, how can it be used in the same bracket as mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, bipolar, depression and even schizophrenia?
There’s one fact that tie each of these illnesses together – the inability to control what you do even if you don’t want to do it.
For example, nobody wants to have severe mood swings, but for those suffering with bipolar and depression, they simply cannot control how they feel. The same rule applies to addiction.
Some addicts reach a point where they realize that their alcohol or drug usage has gotten completely out of hand, but because of the effects and cravings they experience, they’re unable to cope without it.
It’s got nothing to do with strength & willpower. Drugs and alcohol have the ability to change how you feel by stimulating the cells in the brains reward centre. Over time & continued use, these narcotic substances change the structure of the brain and how it functions, creating the inability to cope mentally and physically without it.
When this happens, its called dependency, another named used to describe addiction.
How Addiction Affects the Brain
If you need to use alcohol and drugs to make you happy, then it’s clear that you have a problem.
In your body, you have neurotransmitters, which make your nerves function and tell you what to feel at all times. They are the chemicals responsible for calming you down & making you excited.
One of these neurotransmitters is dopamine, which is responsible for our reward system. Dopamine actually tells you how to feel when you’re doing something good or bad. However, drugs & alcohol changes all of that.
Alcohol & drugs causes the dopamine to malfunction by stimulating it, making you enjoy it, even though you know that what you are doing is bad for you. This makes you lose control, experience cravings and creates the need to continue using these narcotic substances.
Over time and continued use, your body won’t be able to live without these narcotic substances.
Addicts are often ridiculed by family members and friends for being selfish for choosing to use drugs and alcohol above them, but the reality is that they have no choice. If they don’t use these narcotic substances, they will experience effects called withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to severe and in some cases, can even be life threatening.
That’s why the best way to treat addiction is by getting professional help. We can provide you with immediate admission into the best private drug & alcohol rehab centres in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Thailand. Call us now and let one of our counsellors provide you with free, expert advice.
Article by We Do Recover