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How Does Drug Addiction Start?

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Drug addiction isn’t a simple process. It’s not always a case of being hooked from the first try of the drug in question. After all, it’s not like a person takes a drug intending to become addicted to it; no one wants to be held in the grip of any addiction. With this in mind, many people ponder why those who do become addicted to drugs open themselves up to the possibility in the first place. After all, they decide to take it in the first place, don’t they? There are many reasons why people choose to take drugs, and again, it’s not as simple as deciding to become addicted.

To understand how a drug addiction starts, you need to dive deeper than the surface to understand what really is going on inside the body and mind.

The start of a drug addiction

Humans are always looking for that dopamine hit that makes us feel good. And when we get that dopamine hit, it’s hard to shake the euphoric feeling. Whether you get this from food, good times with friends, new fun experiences, or life’s simple pleasures, the more enjoyable it is, the better the dopamine hits.

In a normal brain, this memory is stored away and occasionally referred back to in the right context, with no desire to keep enjoying what gave you the initial dopamine hit. It is put away for you to remember and enjoy.

But when a person consumes drugs, it can alter the way the brain works. This means that when the drug in question delivers the dopamine hit you’re looking for, more is released than usual. Without drugs, the dopamine is reabsorbed into the brain, but in the presence of drugs, this is blocked, leaving you experiencing prolonged highs and euphoria.

As humans are naturally hedonistic, the brain then requests more and more of this feeling. But to get the same experience as that first time, you will need to consume a little bit more each time to build that same effect. And as you give your brain what it asks for, you’re also building tolerance. This tolerance then renders things other than the drug nonessential and wants only what the drug gives it.

This explanation, while rather simplified, illustrates just how easy it is to descend into addiction when taking drugs.

Addiction risk factors

As mentioned, the above explanation is a rather simplistic view of addiction and how it starts. Not everyone who tries drugs will become addicted, and there are some precursors to addiction and factors that can influence whether a person will become addicted to drugs. These can include aspects such as a high-stress lifestyle, poor mental health, hereditary links to addiction, access to drugs, and more.

Contrary to popular belief, there are no gateway drugs that lead you down a path to addiction. All drugs have the potential to become addictive when consumed, and it doesn’t matter how you obtain them, be it via a prescription for pain medication or from friends who regularly take illicit drugs; no one drug is better or less harmful to take in terms of addiction.

It doesn’t matter where you are in terms of your drug addiction journey; whether you have been using drugs for a few months or many years, there is always help available from Mindheal to help you overcome your challenges and addiction and get your life back under control.




Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.

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