There are many different types of addictions, from drug or alcohol addiction, to being addicted to a certain activities such as gambling, sex, or shopping. Addiction is a serious condition that can begin simply by finding pleasure in a substance or activity. Over time, it becomes dangerous because it feels like a compulsion and interferes with your everyday life. The causes of addictive behavior are sometimes difficult to determine and can vary depending on the type of addiction, as well as your own personal circumstances.
What changes occur in your brain when you are addicted?
According to addiction experts, there is a link between the repeated exposure to an addictive activity and how your brain experiences pleasure. Because using the substance or participating in the activity brings you great pleasure, this leads to further and more frequent uses.
When you are addicted to a substance such as alcohol, nicotine, or an illegal drug, this can actually lead to physical changes in some of the nerve cells in your brain. This damage is sometimes present long after you cease use of the substance. There are certain substances that have a higher risk for addiction than others, and some substances will be able to create a physical dependence quicker than others as well.
There are also increases in tolerance that occur when you are abusing a substance. Once you have been addicted for awhile, you will be unable to achieve the same effects without increasing the dosage. As you do so, your body’s tolerance to the substance will increase as well. Eventually, you will no longer experience any pleasure from the substance, but you will still need to use it in order to prevent the symptoms of withdrawal, since your body has developed a dependence on the substance.
What is the difference between a habit and an addiction?
While many of us can use substances or become engaged in certain activities without experiencing any significant problems, this is not true for everyone. When a habit becomes an addiction, this is when damaging psychological and physical effects can occur.
The definition of a habit is something that is done by choice, meaning that the person with the habit can choose to stop and will be able to stop whenever they want. There is no psychological or physical component of a habit. Addiction, on the other hand, means that there is a psychological or physical component to the act or substance that does not allow the person to control the aspects of their addiction without help.
What factors influence an addiction to develop?
Like other mental health disorders, there are several factors that can contribute to the development of an addiction, whether it is to a substance or an activity. These include:
Environment: Your family’s beliefs and attitudes towards addictive substances or activities has been known to play a role in the likelihood that you will engage in the activity at all. Additionally, if you are exposed to a peer group that encourages you to participate in the activity or substance use, this will also increase your risk for addiction.
Genetics: There are certain inherited traits that can influence how quickly addiction progresses once you have started engaging in the habit.