When you are unable to stop using your drug of choice despite a desire to live without addiction, when you experience physical withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop getting high, when you crave your drug of choice and obsess about getting more – these are just a few characteristics of active drug addiction. Because it is a medical disorder, it is recommended that those who are diagnosed with the disease get immediate treatment that includes medical detox and psychotherapeutic treatment.
Most drugs affect the brain's "reward circuit," causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. A One Hour Journey Through the 12 Steps with Tommy Rosen
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction. Heroin Withdrawal | First Week In
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