Addiction is a disorder, not a choice. While some believe it is a choice, most modern medical associations, such as the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine, classify addiction as a disease. Similar to conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, addiction arises from a complex interplay of various factors.
In a 2023 study commissioned by the United States Department of Human Health Services summarized the current state of addiction in the United States:
“46.3 million people aged 12 or older (or 16.5 percent of the population) met the applicable DSM-5 criteria for having a substance use disorder in the past year, including 29.5 million people who were classified as having an alcohol use disorder and 24 million people who were classified as having a drug use disorder. The percentage of people classified as having a past year substance use disorder, including alcohol use and/or drug use disorder, was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 compared to youth and adults 26 and older. In 2021, 94% of people aged 12 or older with a substance use disorder did not receive any treatment. Nearly all people with a substance use disorder who did not get treatment at a specialty facility did not think they needed treatment.” (HHS PRESS OFFICE, 2023)
Here at the Neuro-Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, we understand the challenges of realizing how addiction affects your or a loved one’s life. Knowing the intricacies of addiction can help get the appropriate level of treatment and provide the proper level of support during this process. Many elements of addiction are interconnected, such as cravings, the sense of losing control, Negative life consequences, and tolerance levels. Here’s how they relate to each other:
Cravings: Cravings are intense desires or urges to use drugs. They are a common feature of addiction and can be triggered by various cues, such as environmental triggers or internal states. Cravings arise due to the brain’s association between drug use and the pleasurable effects it produces. They can be powerful and difficult to resist, often driving individuals to seek and use drugs despite adverse consequences.
Negative Life Consequences: Addiction often leads to various negative life consequences. These can include strained relationships, financial difficulties, legal issues, deteriorating physical and mental health, loss of employment, and overall decline in quality of life. The negative consequences may result from the individual’s preoccupation with drug use and the accompanying impairments in functioning, such as
neglecting responsibilities and engaging in risky behaviors.
Sense of Losing Control: The sense of losing control is a hallmark of addiction. It refers to the perception that one’s ability to moderate or stop drug use becomes compromised. As addiction progresses, individuals may find it increasingly challenging to control their drug intake, even when they strongly desire to quit or cut back. This loss of control is closely tied to the brain changes that occur with addiction, affecting decision-making, impulse control, and the ability to resist cravings.
The phenomenon of tolerances rising, is when the body requires higher doses of a drug to achieve the same initial effect, often occurring due to various physiological and adaptive processes. Here are a few reasons why tolerances can rise when using drugs:
Neuroadaptation: When drugs are consistently used over time, the brain undergoes neuroadaptation, meaning that the brain adjusts its functioning in response to the presence of the drug. The brain’s receptors may become less responsive to the drug, leading to diminished effects. Higher doses of the preferred drug are needed to compensate for this reduced sensitivity to reach the desired “high” one is accustomed to.
Cellular and Molecular Changes: Prolonged drug use can result in cellular and molecular changes in the brain. This includes alterations in the density and sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptors, changes in gene expression, and modifications in the release and reuptake of neurotransmitters. These adaptations contribute to the development of tolerance, as the brain’s response to the drug becomes less pronounced.
Metabolic Tolerance: Metabolic tolerance refers to the body’s increased ability to metabolize and eliminate the drug more efficiently over time. Enzymes involved in drug metabolism may become more active, leading to faster breakdown and clearance of the drug from the body. As a result, higher drug doses are required to achieve the same drug concentration level in the bloodstream.
Behavioral Conditioning: Tolerance can also be influenced by behavioral conditioning. When drugs are consistently used in the same environment or under specific circumstances, the brain associates those cues with drug effects. Over time, this association can lead to a reduced response to the drug in those familiar settings, necessitating higher doses to overcome the diminished response.
It’s important to note that developing tolerance to a drug does not necessarily indicate addiction. However, tolerance can contribute to the progression of substance use disorders and may increase the risk of dependence and addiction if drug use continues.
The Neuro-Psychiatric Addiction Clinic (NPAC) stands as a beacon of hope and healing, where individuals and their loved ones can start a journey toward recovery and reclaiming their lives. In a world fraught with the complexities of neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction, NPAC emerges as a guiding light, offering tailored and comprehensive treatment options that align with the unique needs of each individual.
The core of our mission is a commitment to understanding the intricate interplay between neurological and psychiatric factors contributing to addiction. Recognizing that these disorders often intertwine, the clinic’s multidisciplinary team of experts, including neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and addiction specialists, collaborate seamlessly to decode the underlying mechanisms and design holistic treatment strategies.
What sets the Neuro-Psychiatric Addiction Clinic apart is its unwavering dedication to personalized care. Acknowledging that no two individuals are the same, NPAC takes the time to delve into the patient’s history, genetics, and neurological imbalances to curate a treatment plan that highlights and treats the root causes rather than merely alleviates symptoms. With a rich arsenal of evidence-based therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, medication management, and mindfulness practices, NPAC provides a comprehensive toolkit that empowers individuals to regain control over their lives.
NPAC recognizes that the journey to recovery is not solely an individual pursuit but a collective one that impacts families and communities. We pride ourselves on providing the proper support network to encompass loved ones during recovery, offering education, counseling, and guidance on navigating the challenges of supporting someone through their healing process.
In a society where stigma still shrouds neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction, the Neuro-Psychiatric Addiction Clinic is a haven. Here, individuals find a wealth of scientific knowledge, cutting-edge treatments, and a compassionate environment where their struggles are met with empathy and understanding. By choosing this clinic, individuals and their loved ones take a decisive step towards embracing a brighter future, one where the rays of hope and healing replace the shadows of addiction and neurological imbalance and a renewed sense of purpose.
Start your journey to wellness today at one of the nation’s leading addiction and mental health treatment facilities. Benefit from recovery in style with great people in a pleasant South Florida location. Call us at (888) 574 3506 or complete the form here. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions regarding our treatment programs.
Zou, Zhiling, et al. “Definition of Substance and Non-substance Addiction.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol. 1010, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-5562-1_2. Accessed 28 Aug. 2023.
HHS PRESS OFFICE. “SAMHSA Announces National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Results Detailing Mental Illness and Substance Use Levels in 2021.”
SAMHSA, 2023, SAMHSA Announces National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Results Detailing Mental Illness and Substance Use Levels in 2021