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Addiction at first is a choice

Addiction at first is a choice, but it turns into a disease of the brain. This brain disease (Addiction) is, excel by life experiences, genetics, trauma, environments, and social structure. When the brain chemistry gets rewired from the substance, Two major things happen:

  1. The individual starts living their life to satisfy the reward part of the brain. The brain circuitry known as the "reward system." The regions of the brain comprising the "reward system" use the neurotransmitter dopamine to communicate. Neurons that release dopamine are activated when we expect to receive a reward.

  2. The damage of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is a part of the brain located at the front of the frontal lobe. It implicated in a variety of complex behaviors, including planning, decision making, and significantly contributes to personality development.

When the prefrontal cortex is damage, it prevents people from setting and achieving goals. Receiving improper inputs from other regions of the brain to process information and adaptations is minimize. The result of the prefrontal cortex being damage contributes to a wide variety of  behaviors issues, including:

  • Focusing one's attention

  • Predicting the consequences of one's actions; anticipating events in the environment

  • Impulse control; managing emotional reactions

  • Planning for the future

  • Coordinating and adjusting complex behaviors ("I can't do A until B happens")

Disruption of the PFC in addiction underlies not only compulsive drug taking but also accounts for the disadvantageous behaviors that are associated with addiction and the erosion of free will.

Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems. Yet a number of effective treatments are available and people can recover from addiction and lead normal, productive lives.

People fighting ADDICTION lives their life to maximize the release of dopamine; they are most likely making BAD and SELFISH decisions.  These decisions cause a ripple effect that influences their future.

Symptoms of substance use disorder are grouped into four categories:

  • Impaired control: a craving or strong urge to use the substance; desire or failed attempts to cut down or control substance use

  • Social problems: substance use causes failure to complete major tasks at work, school or home; social, work or leisure activities are given up or cut back because of substance use

  • Risky use: substance is used in risky settings; continued use despite known problems

  • Drug effects: tolerance (need for larger amounts to get the same effect); withdrawal symptoms (different for each substance)

Many people experience both mental illness and addiction. The mental illness may be present before the addiction. Or the addiction may trigger or make a mental disorder worse.

Addiction Issues

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is often referred to as alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder. It’s one of the most common addictions in the United States, with an estimated 16.6 million suffering from the disease. Alcohol addiction occurs when regular, excess drinking causes harm or distress.

Types of problem drinking include:


Once categorized as separate disorders, now commonly referred to as an alcohol use disorder.


Occurs when an individual consumes a high amount of alcohol, between four and five drinks, in a single day.


Occurs when an individual consumes five or more drinks on five different occasions in a single month.

Learn more about alcohol addiction

Illicit Drug Addiction

Illicit drugs are outlawed substances consumed by individuals trying to obtain a high, altered perception of reality or feelings of relaxation and happiness. The drugs cause desired short-term disruptions in the brain, but they also cause undesirable long-term changes to the brain and other vital organs in the body, leading to drug addiction.

Common drug addictions include:

  • Marijuana

  • Heroin

  • Cocaine/crack

  • Synthetic drugs such as bath salts and spice

Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drugs are approved medications used to treat symptoms of diseases and other medical conditions. Even when used as prescribed, they can cause physical changes that can lead to addiction. When they’re used in any way other than as prescribed by a doctor, the likelihood of prescription drug addiction drastically increases.

Common drugs that cause prescription drug addiction include:

  • Opioids, including oxycodone and hydrocodone.

  • Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium.

  • Amphetamines, such as Adderall and Ritalin.

  • Sedatives, including Ambien and Lunesta.

Learn more about prescription drug addiction

Behavioral Addiction

As with drugs, certain behaviors cause brief feelings of happiness or euphoria. However, some long-term behaviors cause a person to lose control of their actions. People suffering from these addictions experience symptoms similar to those of drug addicts, including cravings, tolerance, withdrawal and relapse.

Common behavioral addictions include:

  • Gambling

  • Sex

  • Eating

  • Internet

  • Shopping

  • Video Games

Multiple Addictions and Co-Occurring Disorders

Research indicates people who suffer from substance abuse disorders are very likely to suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders and vice versa. An individual can suffer from a behavioral addiction, a drug addiction and a mental health disorder all at the same time.

Common co-occurring mental health disorders include:

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Addiction is a path leads to or excel MENAL Health Illness

Although the exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known, it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are cause by a combination of biological, psychological, addiction, trauma and environmental factors.

Other biological factors that may be involved in the development of mental illness include:

  • Genetics (heredity): Mental illnesses sometimes run in families, suggesting that people who have a family member with a mental illness may be somewhat more likely to develop one themselves. Susceptibility is passed on in families through genes. Experts believe many mental illnesses are linked to abnormalities in many genes rather than just one or a few and that how these genes interact with the environment is unique for every person (even identical twins). That is why a person inherits a susceptibility to a mental illness and doesn't necessarily develop the illness. Mental illness itself occurs from the interaction of multiple genes and other factors -- such as stress, abuse, or a traumatic event -- which can influence, or trigger, an illness in a person who has an inherited susceptibility to it.

  • Infections: Certain infections have been linked to brain damage and the development of mental illness or the worsening of its symptoms. For example, a condition known as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder (PANDA) associated with the Streptococcus bacteria has been linked to the development of the obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental illnesses in children.

  • Brain defects or injury: Defects in or injury to certain areas of the brain have also been linked to some mental illnesses.

  • Prenatal damage: Some evidence suggests that a disruption of early fetal brain development or trauma that occurs at the time of birth -- for example, loss of oxygen to the brain -- may be a factor in the development of certain conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder.

  • Substance abuse: Long-term substance abuse, in particular, has been linked to anxietydepression, and paranoia.

  • Other factors: Poor nutrition and exposure to toxins, such as lead, may play a role in the development of mental illnesses.

What Psychological Factors Contribute to Mental Illness?

Psychological factors that may contribute to mental illness include:

  • Severe psychological trauma suffered as a child, such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse

  • An important early loss, such as the loss of a parent

  • Neglect

  • Poor ability to relate to others

What Environmental Factors Contribute to Mental Illness?

Certain stressors can trigger an illness in a person who is susceptible to mental illness. These stressors include:

  • Death or divorce

  • A dysfunctional family life

  • Feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, or loneliness

  • Changing jobs or schools

  • Social or cultural expectations (For example, a society that associates beauty with thinness can be a factor in the development of eating disorders.)

  • Substance abuse by the person or the person's parents

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