Addiction is a brain disease that develops over time and involves an element of choice. For this reason, Seattle drug addicts often ask themselves if addiction is their fault. But there are many factors that are out of a user’s control that can cause addiction.
Do Choice, Environment and Genetics Affect Addiction in Seattle Residents?
Addiction stems from both external forces and lifestyle choices. In this way, it’s similar to conditions like diabetes and heart disease. As in those conditions, there may be a biological predisposition to develop the illnesses, but personal actions may trigger, perpetuate or worsen them.
Anyone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol made an initial choice to consume the substance. Sometimes people begin drinking socially, or taking a drug to treat a medical condition. Other times, people use substances recreationally, with the expressed purpose of getting high. However, the body doesn’t know the intent of the substance use. When drugs or alcohol are present, the body reacts and adapts.
Although people react biologically to addictive substances, some people are more likely to become addicted. Physical differences play a role, such as the base level of certain neurotransmitters or the ability to metabolize and endure detox.
How Addiction Develops in Seattle
When users consume drugs or alcohol, their bodies adapt to the effects. Most addictive substances increase levels of certain neurotransmitters, so the body will produce less or make its receptors less sensitive. This adaptation leads to tolerance, which requires larger and larger amounts of the substance to achieve a high. Eventually the body only feels normal when the substance is in the body. When it isn’t, addicts experience withdrawal symptoms.
As the body is developing tolerance and dependence, people find it harder and harder to control their use of the substance. Although part of the brain tells them it isn’t a good idea to use drugs, another part cries out for a fix to restore neurotransmitter levels. Most substances raise the level of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter associated with reward. The body learns to repeat any activity that raises it.
Another reason that drug or alcohol use becomes harder and harder to control is that most addictive substances damage areas of the brain associated with decision-making, memory and judgment. This may make it harder for users to remember and associate negative consequences with their substance use. Sometimes the more impaired that people are by addiction, the harder it is for them to see and acknowledge their problems.
Seattle Addiction Help
Although substance abuse gets harder and harder to control as addiction progresses, users retain the ability to seek help in overcoming the disease. If you’re ready to take that step, give us a call. Our helpline is toll free and staffed 24 hours a day. If you wish, we can check your health insurance coverage, at no cost or obligation. You have a choice to reach out for help or to remain locked in addiction. Choose to take a step toward recovery.