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Addiction and the Brain

Editor Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP
Created On
Updated On

ImageMany people believe that overcoming an addiction is nothing more than “mind over matter,” however, this is not typically true. In other words, quitting cold turkey, with nothing more than willpower, is easier said than done.

Did you know the word “addiction” comes from the Latin term “bound to?” Anybody who has attempted to beat an addiction in the past, regardless of the outcome, understands exactly what this word and its history means.

In short, addiction influences the brain in three ways:

  • Craving for drugs and/or alcohol
  • Continued involvement with the substance despite the negative impact
  • Loss of control over its use

Nobody uses drugs or alcohol with the hope of becoming addicted. That being said, this often times happens sooner rather than later. With increased use the chance of an addiction continues to grow.

Telling Statistics

If you believe you are alone in your fight against an addiction, take a closer look at these statistics:

  • More than 66 percent of people with an addiction abuse alcohol
  • There are approximately 23 million Americans who are addicted to some type of drug or alcohol
  • The most common drugs leading to an addiction include: cocaine, opioid pain relievers, and marijuana

Many years ago when researchers first examined what caused addiction, it was believed that these people had no morals or lacked the willpower necessary to avoid drugs or alcohol.

Over the years, scientific evidence, along with a variety of research studies, have changed this way of thinking. In today’s world, people now realize that addiction is a disease that alters the way the brain functions.

If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you crave the substance because of the way it will make you feel. It takes a dedication to overcoming this problem, often with the help of a rehab facility, to leave your addiction in the past.

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