Behavioral Addiction and Recovery Essay

Behavioral Addiction and Recovery Essay

Length: 1331 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

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Addiction has been around since the dawn of mankind. It is everywhere in today’s society, especially in the media. Unfortunately, many people still don’t see addiction as the disease that it truly is. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” Another misconception about addiction is that it only involves substance abuse, but in reality anything a person finds pleasurable can turn into an addiction. The media portrays addiction in many different ways, but again, most of it only involves substance abuse, and not behavioral addictions.
The term addiction typically has a negative connotation. People tend to see addicts as “lesser-people” and that their addiction is their own choice. While addiction may stem from a persons choice at some point in time, it is a disease of the brain that often cannot be cured easily. According to Time Magazine, “when exposed to drugs, our memory systems, reward circuits, decision-making skills, and conditioning kick in… to create an all consuming pattern of uncontrollable craving.” This goes for behavioral addictions as well. For someone who binge eats, the pleasure center of the brain goes into overdrive, eventually leading to addiction. Some theories as to addiction works suggest that it has to do with the prefrontal cortex in the brain. In some addicts, brain scans show reduced levels of activation in this area, meaning their rational thinking is not being used, hence they are more impulsive. Dopamine- a neurotransmitter having to do with the brains reward system- also plays a large role in addiction as far as researchers can tell. Dopamine is released into the brain during pleasurab...


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...gh, the person may even regress back to the precontemplation stage. The final stage of change is called termination. At this point in the addicts life, the substance is no longer a “go-to” in times of stress or crisis. The person has continues a life of sobriety (A Process to Understand How We Approach Recovery From Addiction).
Although addiction is often glamorized by music artists, it is a serious disease and can affect anyone. It’s important to understand that although it may seem like it, addicts do not choose to be addicts. Addiction affects the brain, altering our neurons and misbalancing our chemicals. Almost anything can turn into an addiction, so it is important to be aware of our actions, and how we react to stressors. If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, it is important to support them through recovery, because they can’t do it alone.

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