Habit Vs. Addiction
Do you think addiction is a choice or can people choose to be addicted? What causes addiction? How come some people are more prone to get addicted then others? Most smokers argue that they are not addicted and they can stop whenever if they choose to quit. However, if they do attempt quitting they would most likely fail. It takes more than just motivation and will power to quit something addictive. Habit is something you choose to do and can resign from whenever but having a cigarette daily is definitely not a habit.
Addiction is recognized as a chronic disease, same as cancer and heart diseases. You don’t choose to have cancer and or a kidney failure. Same with addiction, it chooses you! Sure the first smoke, the first few glasses of alcohol, the first game of poker and the first sniff of drug is all you, you made that choice and decision! Though, as you continue you start craving these things, not by choice, but because your body demands it. If you are addicted, you have a chemical imbalance in your brain which results in mental, physical and behavioral changes.
Addiction is when we have no control over our mind and behavior due to a substance or a behavior. You can be an impulsive shopper, impulsive gambler, addicted to video games, food, sex, drugs, alcohol etc. Addiction occurs to people to due to many reasons. Often it’s said that addiction is due to genetics, FALSE! It can happen to anyone! Usually the reasons are depression, sadness, loneliness, violence, sexual/mental abuse, trauma, influence and an environment surrounded by that substance. For example, if the environment you are in such as work, school or home has drugs in the background then you might be influenced in to using it.
Low Dopamine and Serotonin
Addiction is a coping method for depression. Dopamine is neurotransmitter which controls the reward and pleasure area of your brain. It also controls movement in our body, if we are low in dopamine then we are at risk of getting Parkinson’s disease. Serotonin is a chemical that helps balance your mood. Low Serotonin triggers depression. Low Serotonin also can makes us turn quite suicidal.
Alcohol, smoking, gaming, gambling, drugs, shopping, and any impulsive behavior provides a short term high. People use these to get away from sadness and despair. They think that it’s giving them happiness and eliminating distress. However, they forget alcohol and drugs are anti-depressant. These substances will provide the short term pleasure of fogginess and they will make you forget for a slight period of time. But then it will all come back making you more depressed, asking for more substance to get rid of it once again.
Alcohol, drug, gambling, sex etc. increases your dopamine, so does eating chocolate and winning the lottery. But in addiction, your body becomes greedy and asks for more and more increase of dopamine. When you consume too much the body adapts and confuses your coping method and wants more of the increased pleasure.
Will power isn’t enough! Remember it’s a chronic disease. If you know someone who is addicted then the first step is making them admit they have an addiction. Most people are in denial because of the stigma that addiction has. They know it’s unhealthy but still continue because they can’t stop. The best way to help these people is by helping them admit they have a problem. Then finding a good rehab center. To recover from addiction, people need supervised medical monitoring. Getting Nicotine, won’t help, it’s just replacing cigarettes to increase your dopamine some other way.
Keep it Healthy!