Addiction Specialist Questions and Answers
Addiction is a disorder that can happen to anyone and should be addressed with professional’s help. If you are dealing with addiction and lack sufficient support in your journey to recovery, our addiction doctors would love to help you find success at Restoration Recovery. For more information, please call us or book an appointment online. We have 2 convenient locations to serve you in Chattanooga TN and Dalton GA.
What is an addiction?
An addiction is defined as compulsive behavior or substance use due to a chronic brain disorder that involves the processes of reward, motivation, and memory. As such, addictions occur when, after repeated use or activity, your body experiences intense cravings that a particular substance or activity alone can satisfy, causing a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of satisfying those cravings regardless of any adverse consequences that pursuit causes.
While there are many substances that an individual can become addicted to, including alcohol, opioids, nicotine, inhalants, or various drugs, there are also various behaviors or activities that an individual can become addicted to, which can include any of the following:
- Use of the internet or social media
- Video games
What are the main causes of addiction?
Concerning the physiological causes of addiction, when an individual becomes addicted to a substance or behavior, their brain associates that substance or behavior with pleasure and happiness, even if it causes directly or indirectly causes harm. This association happens because the substance or behavior will initiate a release of dopamine in your brain, which is known as the “feel-good” hormone and influences feelings of reward and motivation.
With addiction, that association becomes so strong through repeated use and activity that the brain will subsequently require the substance or behavior for sufficient dopamine release. Thus, when an individual abstains from the substance or behavior, their brain will create and send signals that cause craving and withdrawal symptoms for the substance or behavior to replenish dopamine levels. However, most individuals dealing with addiction require increasing amounts of the substance or activity to experience the same “high” or satisfaction, regardless of the harm it may cause.
With that being said, addictions are typically caused by a complex web of various factors that can be difficult to disentangle. As such, some common risk factors that could increase someone’s likelihood of experiencing addiction include the following:
- Environmental factors, including peer pressure, parental drug use, lack of parental supervision, presence of drugs at home or school, or living in impoverished communities
- Genetics, or relatives and family members with addiction problems
- Mental illness
- Past trauma, including physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect, witnessing violence, traumatic car accident or medical experience, parental separation or divorce, death of a loved one, etc.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
How do you know if you’re addicted?
Admitting or coming to terms with an addiction can be an incredibly difficult thing to do or recognize in oneself. With that in mind, it is helpful to know the signs of addiction while also knowing that all the signs do not need to be related to an addiction to be present. With that in mind, some signs that you are dealing with addiction include the following:
- Continuing to use or partake in a substance or behavior despite harmful consequences
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you are not using a specific substance or partaking in a particular behavior
- Frequently abandoning commitments or avoiding relationships
- Ignoring risk factors
- Inability to refrain or stay away from a particular substance or behavior
- Substance, behavior, or activity becomes more your main priority at the expense of obligations, relationships, and personal health
What are some examples of addictive behavior?
Addiction can affect every aspect of a person’s life, especially their critical thinking ability, impulse control, and decision-making skills. As such, addiction can manifest itself in numerous destructive behaviors and habits when those aspects of a person’s life are compromised by addiction. With that in mind, some of the most common examples of addictive behavior include lying, manipulating, obsessing, and stealing. Such behavior can be directly concerning their need to use the substance or partake in an activity, or it can be a side effect of their addiction.
For more information about addiction or to book an appointment with one of our addiction doctors at Restoration Recovery, we welcome you to call us or conveniently book an appointment right here on our website. We serve patients from Chattanooga TN, Dalton GA, Rocky Face GA, Tunnel Hill GA, Chatsworth GA, Spring Place GA, Fairmount TN, Walden TN, Harrison TN, Middle Valley TN, Signal Mountain TN, and surrounding areas.