Addiction, as we have come to accept in recent times, is a mental disease. This means that few scientific endeavors in the field of addiction are as valuable as researching the effects that certain illicit substances can have on your brain. Since embarking on this type of research, researchers have been finding the unique and detrimental way that drugs are able to rewire the part of the brain that makes us feel rewarded. This reprogramming is what makes addiction so dangerous, because it greatly disrupts the way we process what good and valuable things are to us, in life. Here’s some information about the way addiction is able to ruin the brain’s reward process…
Drugs make you feel incredible
The first and foremost thing that we must come to realize in this process, is that drugs are able to make people feel amazing. There is a reason that so many people get hooked on illicit substances. This is a part of drug education that gets glossed over a lot. We can tell people that drugs are horrible and awful all we want, but the second they begin using a substance that makes them feel elated, they will begin to question that logic. This is why we must warn people about the good feelings that come along with drugs. It’s important to stress that this is an empty good feeling, and is eating away at their life. By neglecting to address this head on, we are leaving out an important part of why drugs have such an effect on the brain.
Our brain rewards us when we feel good
Whenever we do something that our brain perceives as good, it gives us a rewarding feeling, one that is meant to encourage this behavior over and over again. This is why drugs can be so pervasive in this process. The good feelings that drugs give people’s brains will cause the brain to continue to make us feel rewarded. To understand how much this has an effect, realize that some substances, such as heroin, are able to release even more dopamine (the chemical that gives us the rewarding feeling) than even sex. Essentially, your brain is telling you that heroin is even better than procreation. That is a dangerous precedent that an addicts mind sets against them. The ultimate irony of this is that our brains are rewiring to make us want something that is killing us, because the effect of drugs on the mind is so strong that it can undermine even the most basic drive of self preservation.