Ever wonder what causes addiction or who can become an addict? Read on to find out 4 key facts about the science behind addiction.
Addiction Affects the Brain
Addiction affects the brain and behavior of a person. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are biological (genetic) and environmental factors that contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Drugs alter the brain’s structure and can have long-term effects on the brain and on behavior. Adolescents who do drugs often act out, do poorly in school, and put themselves at risk for unplanned pregnancies, violence and crime.
People often initially take drugs because they believe the drugs are making them feel good and are having a positive effect on them. However, over time, drugs take over a person’s life until they only find pleasure in drugs. They begin to take more drugs because they find the dose they started out with is no longer enough to get them to their desired high.
When a person first tries drugs, it is often voluntary. However, after time and continued drug use, the drug takes over and a person loses control over their choice of whether to get high or not. Studies show physical changes in the area of the brain that is responsible for judgement, decision making, behavior control, and learning and memory, which scientists believe is the reason for addict’s rash and poor decisions.
Who Are the Addicts?
There are several factors that determine who becomes addicted to drugs and who remains sober. The more risk factors there are in a person’s life—poor social skills, aggressive behavior in childhood, lack of parental supervision, poverty and access to drugs—the more likely they are to become addicted.