A primary component of drug and behavioral addiction is that an addicted person will continue to use even after physiological or psychological damage has occurred. The following are 5 reasons supporting that continued addictive decisions can be affected by pathology. These impaired decision processes also estimate the chance of whether an individual will maintain the ability to improve their choices (Heyman, 2009).
1. Genetic Vulnerability
Why do some people become addicted to substances but others didn’t? There is significant evidence supporting that some individuals have a genetic predisposition to develop an addicted personality (Kreek et al., 2005). Several studies of twins and adopted kids show that about 50% of a person’s susceptibility to alcohol disorders is inherited. It’s also likely that heavy alcohol consumption causes major physiological alterations in the brain.
When intolerable situations in someone’s life such as a tragedy create emotional distress and suffering, a simple, fast solution provides instant gratification and a temporary escape from pain (Khantzian, 2012). Alcohol can help someone relax and easily forget their problems. However, with continuous heavy drinking, the brain adjusts and develops tolerance, creating anxiety and irritability. Eventually, an alcoholic will no longer drink for pleasure, instead, to feel normal.
3. Lack of Alternative Rewards
When someone lacks other, non-substance rewards, they typically turn to drug use. Profess Hart saw that those living in poor neighborhoods are deprived of options, so there’s definitely rationality for using a substance that provides pleasure. Nowadays there are several studies revealing that giving alternative rewards to those who certainly were deprived of them could improve addiction recovery. This is because it’s been proven that environmental factors play an extreme role in the development of drug addiction as well as treatment.
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4. Impaired Insight
Continuous drug abuse is linked to impaired self-awareness scientifically known as dysfunction of the insular cortex, which develops as a denial of addiction or severity of drug use and the refusal of treatment (Naqvi et al., 2007). This is why there are very few alcoholics who admit they have a serious drinking problem. This is another explanation as to why individuals continue to abuse a drug despite knowing it’s destroying their mind, body, and lives. Mindfulness was revealed to be an efficient method to increase awareness and inhibitory control (Paulus and Stewart 2014).
5. A Love-Hate Relationship With The Drug
Continuous drug use can develop an inability to distinguish the expected feeling of reward from a drug and its true pleasure (Kringelbach and Berridge, 2009). For people struggling with addiction, an extremely compulsive craving for a substance does not mean they receive enjoyment from its consumption. This is because a developed tolerance to the drug creates reduced and even no pleasure but an addict will likely still feel an overwhelming urge to use. They intensely crave the drug even after it is stopped bringing them pleasure.