A LESSON IN LOGIC:
Drugs affect the brain. The brain controls behavior. Therefore, when someone does drugs, their behavior is affected. In addiction treatment we believe that the reverse is true as well. This is called the logical biconditional (sometimes known as the material biconditional) and it is the logical connective of two statements asserting “p if and only if q“, where ‘p’ is a hypothesis (or antecedent) and ‘q’ is a conclusion (or consequent). In Addiction Treatment, we believe that behavior can change thinking and thinking can change behavior. One of the reasons addiction treatment facilities are so regimented is because they help clients suffering from drug and alcohol addiction to learn new behaviors and change old patterns of thinking.
The brain is complex, but we know a little about how addiction works. Commonly abused drugs, sex and other things like food and gambling, affect the addiction pathway in the brain. The addiction pathway in the brain is located right in the center of the brain and involves the substantia nigra, nucleus accumbens and other tiny parts of the brain. These parts of the brain regulate the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain. The one neurotransmitter involved in most of the above mentioned addictions is dopamine. All addicts are essentially dopamine addicts. Addicts, or people with addictive personalities, like anything that increases their dopamine levels, whether it be sex, food, cigarettes, gambling, drugs, etc… Part of addiction treatment, or process addiction treatment (i.e., eating disorder treatment or gambling addiction treatment), involves learning how certain behaviors and drugs affect dopamine levels in the brain. When a person changes their behaviors, they can affect change in their brain. Also, when they change their brain (i.e., thinking) they can change their behaviors. Concurrently working from both ends of this logic equation is the best way to enact change.