The Psychology of Addiction

Posted on July 15, 2017

People who are not addicted to illicit substances may wonder how people get addicted, and why they would put themselves in a position that compromises many aspects of their life. Truth is, addicts often have little control over the psychological factors that traps them. These are some factors that contribute to addiction.

1) Genetics.
People with a family history of drug and alcohol abuse problems are more likely to become addicts. It is difficult for them to withhold the taking of illicit substances as their brains may be hardwired to want to take drugs or drink.

2) Anxiety.
Anxiety sets off warnings in a person’s brain, and overwhelms their ego. Taking alcohol and drugs are ways they use to reduce their fear. Proper therapy and medication is needed to reduce the temptation to use drugs or alcohol when they are anxious.

3) Trauma.
People who have gone through or witnessed trauma are more susceptible to addiction. The trauma may have left such a deep emotional impact that they feel the only way to reduce the pain associated with it is through the abuse of substances. With continued usage, their resistance of the substance increases, and thus they take more to hit the same level of relief.

4) Exposure.
People who are surrounded by others who frequently abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to be addicted as well. This is especially so for children, who grow up thinking substance abuse is normal, or that they have to behave in the same way to gain acceptance in the household.

5) Chemical and Physical Changes in the Brain.
The American Psychological Association states that these changes in the brain also changes how the brain perceives things like reward, motivation, impulse control and judgment. These changes can be a result of brain trauma which can result, for example, from a car accident or stroke. Specialised medical care is needed to normalise chemical reactions in the brain.


Category(s):Addictions, Drug Addiction

Source material from What is Psychology?


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