Maintaining Sobriety during the Holidays

Understanding Addiction

You’ve probably heard people say that addiction is a disease. It’s possible that when you first heard that, you laughed it off in disbelief. After all, how could something that someone chose to do that ended up hurting them be a disease? There have been many studies done on addiction in the past and they all support the idea that addiction truly is a disease.

An addiction is something that occurs when someone ingests a substance or engages in an activity repeatedly. The substance or activity produces pleasurable sensations for the individual. Eventually, it becomes compulsive in nature. This is problematic because of how it interferes with the individual’s life. This can result in issues with the persons’:

  • Work
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Responsibilities
  • Education

When someone suffers from an addiction, they are usually not aware of how out of control their life is. In fact, people can remain in denial for years, assuring everyone around them that they’re in control.

When someone has an addiction, there are dramatic changes that take place in the brain. These changes occur regardless of the type of addiction the individual has. They usually refer to increased levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These chemicals are responsible for helping people feel good and experience security. When addictions are present, the substance or behavior becomes responsible for making these chemicals. The brain no longer makes them on its own.

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