Home / How Do People Get Addicted To Drugs? The Science Behind Drug Addiction


How Do People Get Addicted To Drugs? The Science Behind Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a complex subject with an even more complex mechanism. It is often hard to discern the beginning of its manifestation in an individual, especially to the untrained eye. Even if you are fully knowledgeable of its symptoms and warning signs, by the time of its discovery, it may have already developed into a serious severity.

Learning about the science behind drug addiction can be enlightening for you. It will help you grasp a better comprehension of how exactly it happens. Addiction is not an overnight occurrence; it slowly develops over time through sustained habits which lead to dependence. In other cases, it may even be caused by the inheritance of genetic material. This means that some people have a higher risk of developing drug addiction compared to others simply because they come from a line of addicts.

Furthermore, drug addiction is characterized as a chronic disease that plagues the mind and body. It is deeply rooted in the person’s system and cannot be simply extracted in an instant. If you feel frustrated that the recovery process is long and arduous, then it may help to understand the exact mechanisms that cause drug addiction.

Why Do People Get Addicted To Drugs?

Why do some people get addicted while others do not? The truth is that anyone can get addicted and it’s just a matter of different factors that prevent or allow it. These factors include:

·         Experiencing constant stress especially at an early age

·         Being abused or experiencing trauma

·         Genetic predisposition

·         Prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol

·         Absence of role models or parental supervision from childhood to adolescence

·         Constant interaction with drug addicts and enablers

·         Peer pressure from social connections who use drugs

·         Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression which may lead to self-medication through drugs

·         Socioeconomic status

·         Lack of career opportunities

·         Living in poverty-stricken areas

·         Lack of education

The aforementioned list tells you that it is a combination of environmental and social factors that may increase the risk factors for a person to become a drug addict. Research reveals that individuals who began usage at a young age are also more likely to grow up to become a drug addict. This is because their stance on drugs will be altered during their formative years which then leads to irreversible damages to the brain. Almost 70% of adolescents who have tried drugs will most likely develop an addiction within just 7 years. People who take drugs between ages 18 to 25 are also likely to develop addictions simply because their brains are still maturing and are therefore still very much malleable.

How Exactly Do People Develop Drug Addictions?

Decades’ worth of extensive scientific research has been extremely helpful in illustrating the pathway between regular drug usage to a full-blown addiction. Scientists have utilized advanced technology such as brain scanning and imaging. This revealed images that clearly show the negative impacts of drugs on the brain.

Addiction starts with prolonged drug usage. Repetitive intake changes the brain functions. Some drugs offer a rush of happy hormones. Drugs trigger the brain to release dopamine which is also known as the pleasure chemical. The user feels a euphoric rush that makes them feel high, good, and happy. As the user takes more of the drugs, the brain rewires by being reliant on these synthetic drugs to attain that level of happiness. The drug-related effects become part of the brain process so when the drugs are taken away, the brain seeks more of it. Eventually, drugs will be the person’s highest priority just so they could experience the euphoria again.

The problem is that the human body adapts and builds up a tolerance. This means they need to up the dosage to achieve the same effect and this only worsens the brain’s circuitry. Other aspects of the brain are also affected. The focus will be on attaining drugs and everything else becomes less important which will compromise the person’s ability to think, make sound decisions, or control their drug-related impulses. The user stops having a choice about whether or not they need drugs because their brain tells them they do. They become a slave to their impulses.

There are physical effects as well. More specifically, the parts of the brain responsible for decision-making, self-control, learning, and critical thinking become damaged. This pushes the person deeper into the pit of usage and it gets harder for them to crawl out and stop using altogether.

How Can People Overcome Drug Addiction?

Thankfully, it is perfectly possible for patients to overcome their addictions. The brain simply needs to be rewired so that it stops being dependent on drugs. Once the addictive substance is eliminated, the brain can re-learn to naturally generate dopamine without the need for synthetic ingredients. The process itself is challenging since it will take some time to revert the brain to its original health just as it took some time for it to succumb to an addicted state.

The best way is to get the patient admitted into drug rehab so that they will be assessed and an individualized treatment plan may be created. There is no clear-cut way for recovery that works for everyone since every case is different. Contact R&R Recovery to learn more about the power of professional treatment as well as the exact services offered to help rewire the addicted brain to its healthier state.

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