Most people start using drugs and alcohol occasionally, which is a voluntary decision, however, the more they choose to use, the more they become addicted. As the addiction grows they become physically and emotional dependent on the substance; they become a compulsive user and their drug use gets out of control. Addiction is defined as a chronic relapsing of the brain that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. At this point, drug use does not produce a ‘high’; instead, the user keeps taking the drug to stave off painful withdrawal symptoms such as fever, cramps, violent nausea, and depression.
Although there is much debate about addiction, the medical research proves that addiction is undisputedly caused by a psychological or neurological disease and through heredity. The long term chronic abuse of alcohol and drugs slowly begins to change the chemical makeup of the user’s brain. Permanent neurological changes begin to affect the brain as the person compulsively continues to abuse the substance.
Those neurological changes in the brain have a major impact over a period of time, on the way the user thinks and acts. An addict’s thought process and behaviors have been altered by the long term abuse of the substance.
Long term use causes disruption of the dopamine pathways and leads to a decrease in the reinforcing value of normal things, and this pushes the individual to take drugs to compensate. Addiction is a neurologically based disease and is related to neurological disorders like Tourette’s Syndrome.
This disorder manifests in long term obsessive-compulsive behaviors outside the realm of the addicts own control. Therefore addiction is not something a person can control if they are unfortunate enough to have a neurological disorder or disease.
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