How does one become addicted?
How does addiction develop?
One does not plan on becoming addicted and one does not become addicted overnight. Drug or alcohol addictionusually starts with experimentation, whether out of curiosity or peer pressure, under stressful situations and/or to deal with some other problem – for instance, physical or emotional pain.
Since it makes one feel better, even though temporarily, one starts using it more and more and before you know it, it becomes your way of coping with life’s situations. Continued drug use affects the brain, resulting in cravings to use the substance. The drugs slowly replace certain natural chemicals in the brain, to which they are similar. As a result of this, the brain stops producing the natural chemical and starts relying on the drug instead. Thus, one becomes physically dependent on the drug and is unable to function and feel fine without it. The body creates strong cravings similar to hunger pangs if the drug is not consumed.
Thus, as addiction progresses, it becomes a physical and psychological need and one loses the ability to stop. What started off as a voluntary choice becomes an involuntary reaction to the body’s needs.
Apart from causing strong cravings, continued substance abuse affects areas of the brain responsible for self control and decision making. Repeated drug abuse impairs the ability to inhibit oneself, think clearly and make the right decisions. All this, with the uncontrollable cravings, causes the individual who is addicted to go to any extreme to procure and use the substance ? including lying, stealing and deceiving even those people the individual cares deeply about.
Their whole life starts revolving around, thinking about or actually getting and abusing the substance, thus causing them to forget everything important to them, from basic hygiene and grooming to their family, friends, work and even physical health ? in fact, becoming a full blown addict.