Addiction is a condition where a person gets engaged in a pattern where there is a kind of dependency on certain substances or pursue a behavior (though harmful) and those are repetitive phenomenon despite of adverse consequences.
Why does one continues to take substances in-spite of its harmful effects?
Substances to which a person gets addicted are alcohol, cocaine, LSD, Opiates, nicotine etc. These substances have pleasure as primary effect and adverse effects are secondary effect. So when these substances are taken it affects a pathway in brain known as reward and reinforcement pathway. It consists of three important structures viz., Ventral tegmental area, Nucleus Accumbens and prefrontal cortex. They share connection with each other and that is known as reward pathway. This pathway gets activated by these substances and it releases a dopamine ( a neurotransmitter) which generates pleasure. So in order to seek that pleasure which is artificially generated by these substances one becomes addicted to it.
Behaviors like gambling, playing in casinos, robbery etc are behaviors which gives you money or wealth which gives pleasure. And pleasure comes easily , here too reward pathway gets activated and one becomes habituated to such behaviors and develops a pattern known as addiction.
Is it difficult to activate reward and reinforcement pathway naturally?
Not everyone falls prey to addiction. Natural way of activating reward pathway is doing artistic activity- colouring, doodling, paintings etc (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170613120531.htm)
Any physical activity in form of exercise or dancing can also stimulate reward pathways. Learning new skills can also help in activation of reward pathways.
It requires efforts to activate reward system naturally while drugs are easiest way to experience pleasure at peak.
- In a life full of stress, it requires discipline to find time for self and to do activity that pleases you. It requires genuine efforts and conviction to get involved in activity other than professional compulsions. Any person who has kept himself engaged in exercise, learning new things or any physical activity on daily basis rarely is found to be victim of addiction.
- Competency to deal with stress enhances mental and physical health. But if one fails to maintain health, ability to withstand stress of daily life reduces. Gradually small stresses get piled up and turn in to heaps of mountains. Tolerance reduces and reality becomes unbearable. By the time when reality becomes unbearable, one is incapable to get engaged in cultivating healthy habits to feel pleasure. Drugs are available as quick fix solutions to forget reality which is bitter and also they are the only source of pleasure which they are left with.
- All those who have become victim of addiction have somewhere reached the threshold to sustain or deal with stress (sometimes addictions are also biological inheritance or getting indulged in drugs at very early age). Basic idea is to increase the tolerance and become resilient which can help to remain distant from addictions.
- Basically these drugs take away the pain of reality and that is exactly what an individual who is unable to face reality needs.
- It is also better to prevent a state where you fail to face life stresses.
- People suffering from depression, anxieties or any mental ailments are more prone to get indulged in addictions as they help them to experience pleasure and to get relief from their emotional agony. Hence giving required attentions and taking enough care of mental health is not only important but in today’s scenario it is mandatory.
“Addiction is never about feeling ashamed rather conquering it and inspiring other”