Why Do People Get Addicted?

Substance abuse and other compulsive behaviors that persist despite negative consequences are hallmarks of addiction, a chronic brain condition influenced by both genetics and early life experiences.

Once upon a time, being addicted meant having an uncontrollable need to consume alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs. These days, it’s not just illegal drugs or harmful habits like smoking that are considered addictive; it’s also things like exercise and eating that you need to do to stay alive.

What makes addiction what it is?

There are two things that every addiction has in common:

The behavior of addiction is not helpful. The behavior makes things hard for the person or for people around them. So it doesn’t help the person deal with situations or solve problems. Instead, it tends to hurt their ability to do these things.
The behavior keeps going on. When someone is addicted to something, they will keep doing it no matter how much trouble it causes. So a weekend of self-indulgence here and there is not an addiction, even though it may cause problems. Addiction is a pattern of doing something over and over again.

Confidence is Key

Researchers found that low self-esteem was a key sign of addiction, theft, and prostitution all at the same time. The more likely someone was to become addicted, the lower they thought of themselves. At the same time, other things like losing a job, living far away from family, and not having any help during the addiction all added to the low self-esteem.

People with a history of addiction have often felt alone, lost family and friends, and even lost their jobs. During their addiction, addicts may have done other bad or illegal things. This makes them feel even worse about themselves and makes them turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to feel better. If you don’t deal with low self-esteem, you leave yourself open to relapse.

The Need to Be Validated

Validation, like approval, should come from within and not from what other people think and say. When addicts care more about how other people see them, they don’t pay attention to the changes they need to make on the inside to stay sober.

People who have problems with feeling validated are open to outside influences, especially from their partners. When partners don’t validate each other, it can cause anxiety and stress, which can lead to relapse.

The four Cs of addiction are compulsion, cravings, consequences, and control. The idea behind the four Cs is to make the most sense about  the disease of addiction to its most basic parts. Since then, they have become a good way to describe or even spot addiction.

How Does Addiction Change the Brain?

 

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