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Why We Need to Understand Addiction

Posted on :  June 27th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

A central aspect of conquering addiction involves understanding it – both in terms of its personal effects on the individual’s particular life, and its seemingly impenetrable grasp on the brain.

Understanding the factors that allow addiction to develop and sustain itself will allow the individual to find the means by which to break those bonds and in turn, end the destructive cycle addiction can have on one’s life.

What addiction is not

Sufferers of addiction can often feel great guilt upon self-reflection, leaving them in a vulnerable position where that addiction is concerned.

This is because many people still hold the view that addiction is within the control of the sufferer, such that the problem is entirely self-created and the resulting complications are controllable and it is within the power of the addict to stop.

While it is true that the addict themselves are ultimately responsible for making the decision to approach recovery, those who suffer from addiction are not also suffering from moral or willpower deficits.

What addiction is

Addiction, instead, can best be understood with a brief etymology lesson. “Addiction”, as a term, comes from the Latin for “enslaved by” or “bound to”, which tells you much of what you need to know: addiction is a compulsion – something the sufferer has little power over to change.

Addiction, in all forms, works on the same principle: the abuse of something x releases dopamine in the user, thereby triggering a reward correlation.

The user learns that using x correlates to a reward in the form of dopamine, thereby encouraging future use.

This repeated release of dopamine can lead to a situation in which the addict conflates the reasonable expectation of reward in exchange for using x with the desire to use x.

While this basic reward system can apply to addicts and non-addicts alike, the build up of tolerance to x usually results in exponentially increasing desires for x, which slowly cross the line between desire and compulsion. This is where addiction sets in.

Breaking the cycle

Conquering addiction, then, requires breaking the reward cycle the user has conditioned themselves into chasing.

“The best way to do this is by thinking of addiction as a super-strength habit.”

By replacing the existing habit with new, healthy ones, which don’t interfere with other aspects of their life, and refusing themselves access to x, they create a new reward cycle which is overall more fulfilling and less disruptive.

If you, or someone you know, needs help to recover from drug addiction, or you’d like like to learn more about the nature of addiction, and live in or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Towards Recovery on 519-579-0589 to locate your nearest clinic and kick start your journey.

Make sure you have an unexpired OHIP card or call 1-866-532-3161 to find out how to get one.

Towards Recovery Clinics Inc. (TRC) is an Ontario addiction treatment centre with the philosophy to help individuals take control of their addiction and help them rebuild their lives and careers.

Don’t hesitate to call us! We’ll be happy to help you.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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