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Why Did I Develop an Addiction

Many people who are facing addiction wonder why they became addicted in the first place. There are many ways you can develop an addiction, but there are also many ways you can break the cycle. No two addictions are ever the same, so it’s important to approach your condition from a standpoint unique to you.

The Reasons People Develop An Addiction

From the outside looking in, it’s easy for others to think of addiction as something that can be easily stopped. Even with all the research and awareness in recent years, addiction still has a stigma attached.

Addiction is a Disease

Most people don’t understand that addiction is actually a disease. It’s not something that simply comes from poor moral principles, willpower, or bad choices. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is defined as a “chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.” It’s considered a brain disorder because it creates changes in brain circuits that control reward, stress, and self-control. These brain changes can last long after a person has stopped using substances.

Like other diseases, addiction disrupts the healthy functioning of an organ in the body (the brain). Also, like many other diseases, addiction is preventable and even treatable. When left untreated, however, it can cause devastating effects and even lead to death.

The Biology of Addiction

According to NIH News in Health, addiction is a “long-lasting and complex brain disease.” This biological basis can help explain why it takes much more than simple willpower to break the cycle. Researchers have found that addiction is highly disruptive to the brain. The more drugs and alcohol one takes, the more the brain can change. NIH News in Health mentions that much of addiction’s power “lies in its ability to hijack and even destroy key brain regions that are meant to help us survive.”

Addiction and the Brain’s Reward Center

Healthy behaviors are rewarded by a healthy brain. According to NIH News in Health, activities like exercise, eating, or having fun with loved ones will switch on a “brain circuit” that makes you feel good. This good feeling then motivates you to repeat these behaviors. When it comes to unhealthy behaviors, like substance use, the brain can work against you. NIH News in Health says that drugs and alcohol can “hijack the pleasure/reward circuits in your brain” and hook you into wanting more.

Addiction also affects the brain by triggering your emotional danger-sensing circuits. Repeated substance use becomes so familiar that the brain senses danger when you’re not using. This can cause you to feel stressed, anxious, and depressed, triggering more drug use to keep the unpleasant feelings at bay.

When You Develop An Addiction and Can’t Quit

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will.” Drug use causes changes in the brain that make quitting hard, no matter how badly one may want to.

NIH News in Health notes that repeated drug use “can damage the essential decision-making center at the front of the brain,” making it hard to quit. This front-of-brain area is called the prefrontal cortex. Normally, it should help you recognize that using substances is harmful, but when it isn’t working properly it just feeds into a seemingly never-ending cycle of substance abuse. Continued drug use can seriously impair self-control. NIDA says this impairment in self-control is the “hallmark of addiction.”

Genes, Family History, and Other Factors

Even though addiction likelihood varies from person to person, there may be genetic factors that cause you to develop an addiction. NIDA points to risk factors that may make addiction more likely. Aggressive behavior in childhood, lack of parental supervision, and community poverty may all put someone at risk.

There are also biological and environmental factors that may increase the likelihood of addiction. According to NIDA, scientists estimate that “genes, including the effects environmental factors have on a person’s gene expression, called epigenetics, account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s risk of addiction.”

Home and school environments can also heavily influence a person’s ability to develop an addiction. Teens and individuals with mental health disorders have also been found to be at greater risk than others.

What to Do When You Develop an Addiction

If you develop an addiction, it’s important to receive the best care possible for long-term support. At The Guest House, we believe that trauma and other negative events in life can lead someone to develop an addiction. This cyclical relationship can be broken the more you dedicate yourself to long-term healing and happiness.

Individualized Care

Just as no two people are alike, no two addictions are alike either. Each and every person brings their own set of unique circumstances to the table. This is why it’s so important to treat addiction on a highly individualized basis.

At The Guest House, we put individualized care above all else. We offer a large variety of cutting-edge therapies, allowing our guests to discover the modalities that work best for them. We also work with each of our guests on a one-on-one basis to set your long-term and short-term goals as you move forward in your journey of growth and healing.

Here, we advocate taking the therapies that work and creating your own recovery toolkit for lifelong success. From conscious connected breathwork to art in healing, cinema therapy, and more, there is truly something for everyone at The Guest House.

There can be many reasons why a person can develop an addiction. Biological factors, genes, and environmental conditions can all lead one to develop an addiction. At The Guest House, we recognize that no two addictions are alike, and each person who comes through our doors will work closely with a highly-trained staff member to create their own individualized plan. We employ cutting-edge therapies in our program, blending tried-and-true traditional methods with experiential holistic remedies. At The Guest House, you will find a wide variety of exciting healing modalities, allowing you to find what works best for you and create your own toolkit for success. For more information, call us at (855) 483-7800.