Overcoming Addictions: Why Are They So Hard to Beat?

Addiction isn’t a discriminatory disease. It affects anyone regardless of age or gender, race, or socioeconomic status, whether it’s alcohol, opioids, or marijuana, millions of people battle addiction every single day.

If you’re reading this, you may be wondering why addiction is so difficult to overcome? This article will explore why overcoming your addictions can feel so difficult and how recovery and healing are possible for anyone. So read on!

Too Much of a Good Thing

Addiction is related to the brain’s conditioned response toward surges of dopamine. Dopamine contributes to feelings of satisfaction and pleasure. These feelings help our brains clock something as exciting or prompt us to strive toward something.

When dopamine gets produced, it spreads amongst the major pathways in the brain. Proper levels of dopamine affect essential functions such as:

  • Attention
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Learning
  • Heart rate
  • Motivation
  • Functioning blood vessels

As with anything else, too much of a good thing turns bad. Regarding addiction, the bridge between the feel-good sensation to overwhelming need and desire is a thin one.

Rewards Lead to Repercussions

Addictive substances like drugs, nicotine, or alcohol causes excessive dopamine surges in the brain. Dopamine floods the reward center of the brain, upsetting its natural equilibrium. Eventually, this causes the brain to seek out that feeling repeatedly.

Addiction can then manifest as a result of an overflooded reward center. But why is overcoming addiction so tricky?

Addiction Formation

Dopamine certainly plays a significant role in addiction formation. However, there is no single attributable cause as to why addiction forms in specific individuals and not others. There are both biological and environmental factors at play that can play a part in why addiction forms:

  • Genes
  • Overall health history
  • Academic challenges
  • Social pressure
  • Challenging homelife

Our brains are complex and are constantly rewiring and taking in new information. Unfortunately, for those who suffer from addiction, unhealthy habits such as smoking or alcohol abuse become the focus of said rewiring.

This sort of learned behavior makes it difficult to quit. However, healing is possible as addiction is a treatable chronic medical disease.

Healing and Overcoming Addictions

The first step toward overcoming or beating addictions is recognizing there is an issue. The physical and emotional toll of quitting can seem like an impossible barrier to overcome. To decide to change may feel like a giant leap you don’t want to take.

Once you’ve decided to quit, you’re already one step closer to healing. Your first step may be a simple search online like “how to quit smoking.”

Healing steps past that might include detoxing, support groups, and therapy.

Getting Help and Support

Addiction is a complex and nuanced disease. Attempting to curb addiction on your own can be difficult. There’s no shame in reaching out for support and help with overcoming your addictions.

If you’re on a new journey toward bettering your health, we have plenty of helpful information on our site. Be sure to browse through any of our additional articles from our Health section for more!

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