How the Brain and Genetics Play a Role in Addictive Behavior

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Reading Time: 3 minutes(Last Updated On: June 20, 2019)

Addiction seems to rear its ugly head in the most unsuspecting of people. One day your friend who you’d never imagine could get hooked on anything tries cocaine for the first time. Suddenly she is completely obsessed and out-of-control over this substance. She is willing to do anything to get her hands on it because she is completely addicted to this drug.

Why did this suddenly happen? Why did she try cocaine one time and become instantly hooked? Many people fail to realize the connection between brains and genetics in the role of addictive behavior. We’ll do our best to shed some light on this important topic for you today.

It’s also important to note the valuable benefits of being treated for addiction at a trusted recovery program. The transitions recovery program is highly respected, trusted, and completely capable of helping addicts transition back to a healthy life. So check them out if you’re suffering from trauma and abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or sexual addiction. The valued staff can help put you back on the straight and narrow path in life.

How the Brain Changes Under the Influence of Addictive Substances

More than likely, a person would have to repeatedly use their drug of choice over and over again before they change their brain to any significant degree. But when addiction is fully developed, and repeated use takes place repeatedly, your brain will physically become rewired to expect your drug of choice.

As you can imagine, rewiring your brain for a specific substance makes it incredibly difficult to kick the habit. You’ll experience physical withdrawal symptoms because your brain needs your drug of choice to function, and it demands it. If you withhold this substance from now on, you will go through physical withdrawal symptoms and experience emotional turmoil as well.

But that’s not all, unfortunately. Your brain will also begin craving this substance, and you will have a great yearning for quite some time after you’ve officially kicked the habit and quit your drug of choice. So you know that it’s undeniably not easy to give up an addictive behavior because your brain physically becomes hardwired to expect and thrive off of your substance of choice.

When addicts read a description like the one above, they tend to feel like they’ll never overcome their addictive behavior. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, recovery is more than possible from addiction, but you have to be willing to put in the work and go through the struggle of withdrawing from your drug of choice.

Or in other cases, they now have medications that addicts can take to curb the withdrawal symptoms and make it much easier to handle. These medications are a lot friendlier on the brain because they defeat the physical symptoms that one would typically experience during drug or alcohol withdrawal. You may not know this, but you can also experience physical withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from sugar as well.

How Does the Brain Develop an Addiction?

The brain is incredibly complex, as we all know. It’s the control system for all of the involuntary and voluntary actions we take. It controls all of our necessary motor skills, our breathing, our heart rate, our decisions, our behaviors, and our emotions.

So, when you begin taking a particular substance over and over, it will interact with the limbic system, which causes it to release certain chemicals that will make the person using feel great. And it’s this release of chemicals that help form the bad habit because the user wants to experience these incredible feelings all the time. Even more, the reward system in the brain changes when abusing substances, so feeding the monster known as your addiction becomes the addict’s biggest priority in life.

What Role Does Genetics Play in Addiction?

To make things clear and straightforward to understand, it’s essential to know that addiction is considered a disease. The reason why it’s been elevated to disease status is that it has many of the same features as chronic illnesses. And the fact that addiction might be hereditary is one of the primary reasons why we consider it a disease.

By hereditary, we mean that it runs in the family. And the reason addiction runs in the family is due to shared genetics.

by Lillian Connors

 

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About Lillian Connors 26 Articles
If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of projects related to green and healthy living and spread the word about them.

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