Addiction has been around as long as drugs and alcohol have existed in society, and this can be dated back thousands of years. Even in medieval times, there were stories about every town having the town drunk, but it wasn't until the last century when science started to discover that addiction is beyond a person's control. There have been a variety of different studies conducted so that scientists, doctors and mental health professionals can better understand addiction, and this is hopefully the right step toward getting rid of the stigma of addiction.
Non-addicts and addicts alike often don't understand how a person can lack the willpower necessary to stop drinking or using drugs. People often look at drug or alcohol addicts as people who are extremely selfish, self-centered and weak-willed. Even addicts will look down upon themselves because they can show willpower in just about every other aspect of their lives, but they can't when it comes to drugs or alcohol. The common misconception is that people could stop if they really wanted to. Modern science, however, has started to indicate otherwise.
After years of studies, science has discovered that addiction is a legitimate disease of the brain. The disease of addiction is defined as someone who has a chronic, relapsing brain that has compulsive drug or alcohol seeking characteristics. The reason why it's classified as a disease is due to the fact that long-term drug or alcohol abuse change the structure of the brain as well as how it works.
After science realized that an addict's brain is different that a normal brain, they wanted to discover why. The primary cause of addiction centers in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for impulse control and a variety of other behavioral functions. An abnormality in the prefrontal cortex can be passed along genetically through a person's bloodline. This part of the brain also doesn't fully develop until a person's mid-20s, so young people are at a greater risk of becoming addicted if they indulge in substance abuse at a younger age. Aside from genetic predisposal and age, there are many other environmental risk factors that can make a person prone to addiction. Those who have mental illness, are poverty stricken, have early aggressive behavior and poor social skills are also at a greater risk. No matter why individuals become addicted, the help of a drug and alcohol treatment center can assist them in leading a better life, and this is accomplished with techniques science has discovered can help heal and retrain the mind. If you or someone you know is struggling from addiction, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Freedom From Addiction is here to support you in every way.
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