Understanding the Process of Addiction

Diagnosed as a compulsive brain condition, an addiction is where a tolerance builds up, to a certain stimulus or substance, causing significant changes to the brain.

Cravings, urges, and taught behaviours are all expected, soon making it difficult to switch off from the reward of consumption.

Those who become addicted to a feeling, drug, situation, or object will advance through a process. That process represents a reoccurring cycle, which can be very challenging to break. Starting with a cause, addicts are influenced to consume a certain stimulus.

Soon developing into a tolerance, the brain becomes affected and controlled by the reward and pleasure of exposure, turning into compulsion. Whilst negative thoughts, regret and the idea of withdrawal sets in, without urgent action, the cycle restarts, showing the constant process of addiction.

Many people believe that addiction is an ongoing urge of self-destruction. When in reality, it moves sufferers through different feelings, emotions, and behaviours, making it an unpredictable and difficult condition to treat.

Yet treatment is available, to regain control over both behavioural and substance driven addictions, offered here at Step One Recovery. Understanding the process of addiction is a good starting point, followed by treatment from our drug and alcohol rehab clinics. Reach out to unravel the addiction process, to become aware of your symptoms, triggers, and possible recovery options.


Causes of Addiction

An addiction can start for any given reason, for any individual. There are some factors that can increase the risks of addiction, for certain people. Those factors include genetics and pre-existing mental health issues.

Yet once initial use or exposure takes place, of addictive stimuli, the addiction process can begin to form, for individuals of all backgrounds.

Some of the most common causes of addiction include biological, psychological, social, and environmental influences. Biological includes genetics and any pre-existing weaknesses. Psychological concentrates on poor mental health, stress, trauma, and any other behavioural problems. Social influences include norms, pressures, and standards. Environmental concentrates on taught behaviours, and on toxic and stressful environments.

A cause, paired with initial use and positive reinforcements can begin the process of addiction, which can quickly and intensely develop, if enabled.


Understanding the Process of Addiction

An addiction is an influential condition which affects health and wellbeing, which impacts behaviours and outlooks, and which uncontrollably changes reality. It’s a complicated condition, with many different layers. Understanding the process of addiction is recommended, for sufferers and onlookers, as it’s in fact a compulsive habit, rather than a range of choices.

  • Initial use
  • This is where initial use or exposure takes place. For example, the initial use of drugs and alcohol. Realistically, a single exposure will not result in an addiction. Yet, if responses are positive and the drug helps to solve, suppress, or work through the cause, ongoing consumption is likely.

  • Effects of addiction on the brain
  • The process of addiction will begin to churn at this point. An addiction can affect the brain, by changing its organic structure, chemicals, and responses. Emotional messaging, decisions and outlooks will usually be digested with balance in mind. Yet through an addiction, those responses will shift, mainly focusing on the pleasure of exposure.

    Drugs and alcohol, in this example, will take control of the brain and its usual reactions, increasing the production of happy chemicals, disrupting messaging, and placing pressure on certain parts of the brain. The reward circuit, will be affected, teaching the brain to crave and remember ongoing pleasure and reward through exposure.

  • Tolerance and compulsion
  • By this point of the addiction process, a tolerance, which is taught behaviour, will be present. The brain will be predisposed to a certain level and frequency of exposure, making it difficult to experience the same level of reward. In this instance, consumption of drugs and alcohol will intensify, also aggravating the addiction cycle.

    Although the reward of exposure begins to dwindle through a tolerance, the memory of pleasure and the effects of drugs and alcohol will remain. The brain enters a stage of compulsion, craving further exposure, conditioning habit-like behaviours, needs and responses.

  • Regret and negativity
  • Throughout the process of addiction, regret, and negative feelings do arise. Moving around the cycle, once a degree of withdrawal occurs, many addicts feel remorseful and sometimes ready to give in.

    Yet, as the cycle is fierce and strong, the process can naturally restart, especially when considering emotional influences. All it takes is a trigger, memory, craving, urge or feeling to restart the process, showing the difficulties of recovery.

    Understanding the process of addiction is very important, as each step causes such an unpredictable and unique response. Due to its controlling nature, A detox process will need to be completed, to withdraw from drugs, alcohol, or further stimuli. Therapy is also a successful addiction treatment, helping to rebuild the brain, unravel taught behaviours and diminish the reward of exposure.

    Relapse prevention planning will also be important, as addiction is a reoccurring condition. The process can restart if triggers are strong or if treatment is incomplete. To prepare for exposure and possible compulsion, education and planning will be encouraged.

    At Step One Recovery, we can help you work through your own addiction process, to recover. From one of our leading drug and alcohol rehab clinics, we can offer effective and sustainable treatment. Reach out to begin the process, of withdrawing from and breaking down any unhealthy habits.

    Understanding the process of addiction, to a greater level, will be possible, by considering your own experiences and responses.