Written By:Amber Hollingsworth,LPC
It’s common to wonder why addiction happened to you (or to your loved one).
Some of the newest research is adding so much to our picture of how addiction actually works. For a long time now we have known that addiction makes changes in a person’s brain (that is why we call it a disease), but now we are beginning to understand more about why some people develop this problem and others don’t.
People tend to become vulnerable to this problem when they have had some sort of negative life experience that triggers grief or depression. Oftentimes it is a major UNWANTED LOSS. For example, it can be when a person loses a job, a girlfriend, a loved one or even when one experiences a “loss of dream.” Basically, the loss can be anything that has been very important to person.
SIDEBAR: Losing a vision is called “Loss of Dream.” It is like if you have always dreamed of becoming a professional athlete, but eventually hit a brick wall and it becomes apparent that it isn’t going to happen for you.
This situation can create a deficit of some brain chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. These chemicals actually serve as protective factors against addiction. When they are in balance a person is less vulnerable to developing an addiction.
If a person is a casual or even regular drinker/user when this kind of situation happens, they may begin to use the substance to “self-medicate.”
That means the person shifts from using socially to using to “feel better.” This can result in the person feeling like they need the chemical to “feel normal.” Naturally most of us want to “feel normal” all the time, so the individual may start to use more frequently or in larger amounts.
Over a period of time, their brain begins to adjust for the regular presence of the substance…. AND NOW WE HAVE THE MAKINGS OF ADDICTION!
Addiction is a COMPLICATED MESS that doesn’t play by the rules. The most important thing you can do to help yourself or your loved one is to educate yourself about the problem. Knowledge is power and you are going to need it to beat this disease.
I can’t explain it to you all at once, but if you will hang with me, I think it will begin to make sense to you over time. I will be releasing more information about this topic and others in the coming weeks.