A reward is something given or obtained when an individual acts in the correct manner or achieves something positive. When it comes to addiction treatment this term is frequently used to refer to the positive reinforcement system that is key in breaking free from addiction.

The concept of reward in addiction treatment is based on the understanding that addictive behaviour is driven by the brain’s craving for pleasurable sensations. In simpler terms, when you engage in addictive behaviour, your brain receives a reward, which encourages you to repeat that behavior.

Rewards can come in various forms, including substances like drugs or alcohol, as well as certain activities or experiences. These pleasurable rewards trigger the release of dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. The use of rewards in addiction treatment is not a new concept. It has been an integral part of recovery programs for many decades.

For individuals seeking recovery, understanding the role of rewards is essential. By identifying healthier and non-addictive rewards, you can gradually rewire your brain to crave positive and fulfilling experiences instead of substances or destructive behaviors.

Effective addiction treatment programs often incorporate the use of rewards as a means to motivate individuals to remain committed to the recovery process.

These rewards can be both intrinsic and extrinsic.

  • Intrinsic rewards are those that come from within, such as a sense of accomplishment, improved self-esteem or the satisfaction of making positive changes in your life. These rewards are invaluable as they help you build a strong foundation for long-term recovery.
  • Extrinsic rewards, on the other hand, are external incentives or acknowledgments that reinforce positive behavior. They can take many forms, such as praise, recognition or small gifts. These rewards can provide an additional boost of motivation, especially in the early stages of recovery.

The Reward System

The reward system is a part of the brain that drives our feelings of motivation, desire and craving. It’s particularly important when we look at addiction and substance use disorders. This system gets activated by things that feel rewarding like drugs or alcohol, causing a boost in a brain chemical called dopamine. Key parts of this system include the mesolimbic pathway, ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens plays a role in figuring out what we find rewarding and drives us to seek those rewards. The VTA responds to certain signals by releasing dopamine in several brain areas, including the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is where we make decisions and control our impulses. Other important parts of the brain involved in this system are the hippocampus, which helps with learning and memory; the basolateral amygdala, which is fundamental for learning based on rewards or punishments; the dorsal raphe nucleus, which helps regulate our mood; and the hypothalamus, which connects what our brain wants with what our body needs. Addictive drugs hijack this reward system making it hard for the brain to control urges and leading to continued substance abuse, even when it’s harmful. By understanding how this reward system works naturally, we can better understand how addiction changes the brain.

What is Reward? Addiction Guide Reward Systems

A reward is something given or obtained when an individual acts in the correct manner or achieves something positive. Get help from qualified counsellors.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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