Addiction and the Brain

It’s no secret that our brain likes it when we do enjoyable things, like eating ice cream, running 
or being around the ones we love. Unfortunately, our brains have a hard time differentiating between ice cream and drugs or alcohol.

But after you take drugs or drink alcohol for a while, it takes more and more to achieve the same result, says the National Institute for Drug Abuse. Keep reading to learn more about addiction and the brain.

Mental Health Problems

People with mental health problems like depression or anxiety are more likely to become addicted to drugs, the institute says. It’s because drugs and mental health problems often affect the same parts of the brain. Also, people who live with mental health problems may try to self-medicated by using drugs. However, drug problems can often make mental health problems worse.

Genetic Connection

Some genes may make you more likely to use drugs, the institute says, but watching parents or older family members use drugs or drink alcohol may affect children even more. Living with addiction may also affect children’s emotional growth, which can also raise the chances of having a drug problem. It doesn’t have to happen, though. Children raised with addiction problems can overcome their genes and environment and by not using drugs at all.

Treating Addiction

Realizing how drugs affect your brain can help you overcome addiction. Learn your triggers, the institute advises. Triggers can be things like: certain people and places, feelings, stress or memories. Seek professional help to stay clean. Talking to doctors and therapy or support groups also might help. Remember that kicking an addiction takes time, but it’s worth it in the end.

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