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Nature of Addiction Means Battling Your Brain

Nature of Addiction - The Bergand Group

“Why don’t you just stop doing it?” People ask this question all the time of others with bad habits. One such instance is when a loved one is pleading with an addicted person to stop using drugs and alcohol, but the reality is that it’s basically impossible for a person to “just stop” as a result of the nature of addiction.

Working to Understand the Nature of Addiction

For many, trying to stop addictive habits is like a fight against the person’s own brain. Since that is the center of addiction, the whole scenario can be envisioned as a battle between the two. It’s easy to imagine, then, when it would be so hard to stop taking those substances, particularly since they affect the reward center of the mind. This means that drugs and alcohol create a sense of pleasure when taken, training the brain to desire more of that good feeling… and this is how the cycle begins.

Where the chemistry of the brain is usually balanced, addictive materials send it out of whack. “When casual users respond to this powerful signal by increasing their alcohol and other drug use, they run the risk of developing a pathological craving.” Most people could report the difficult of resisting ‘normal’ cravings, such as for food, and so it’s easy to imagine how powerful the effect would be with substances that actually change the balance of the brain.

More than just causing feelings of pleasure, drugs and alcohol can give off warning-like signals, alerting the user (falsely, of course) that they will be much worse-off if they don’t drink or use drugs. The nature of addiction leads some people to feel a crushing, paralyzing, terrifying compulsion to engage in these habits, or else something bad will happen to them. It may just be a physical feeling of illness or panic, but either way, it pushes the patients back toward their addiction. So, whether they’re being positively reinforced for using or are being punished for abstaining, the brain provides compelling reasons to continuing use.

Luckily, maybe, there are ways that those who may be developing an addiction, or the people around them, can recognize when it might be developing. “Both preoccupation and escalation are early-warning signs on the road to addiction.” If a person can recognize and admit to some concerning practices as they rise in frequency, then there is a  much better chance of getting the help they need sooner. Otherwise, if they are faced with this truth much further down the road, it will be that much more difficult for him or her to fight back against the nature of addiction to reach recovery.

Part of getting a good grasp on all of this is looking more seriously into understanding addiction. Addiction counselors and specialists, doctors, neurologists, and many others each have varying opinions and stores of knowledge on the subject, but not everyone agrees on the bottom line. Once we have a better understanding, something that people can agree on, those in positions of power can work more effectively than ever to bring about real change within the addiction epidemic.

If you are struggling with an addiction and don’t think that you can outmatch your own compulsions, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with drug addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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