• Staff Writer

How Do People Become Addicted?


A variety of individuals use substances. For some, this use leads to a severe addiction with many consequences. For others, addiction does not seem to be a concern. Understanding how addiction begins and the signs to watch for that may indicate addiction can help you and others to catch the potential of addiction early on.


Signs of Addiction


There are various warnings that may signal a potential addiction. You can observe the onset of addiction through behavioral, psychological, and physical changes such as:

  • Risk-taking

  • Neglecting responsibilities

  • Legal trouble

  • Change in appetite

  • Alterations in sleep patterns

  • Impaired coordination

  • Dilated or constricted pupils

  • Low performance

  • Personality change

  • Mood swings

  • Irritability

While other potential signs may occur with addiction, these symptoms are common to watch for. If you notice multiple warning signs, an addiction may begin.


How Does Addiction Work?


Addiction occurs because of the substance's effect on your body's reward system. As you use substances, your body releases dopamine, creating positive and euphoric feelings. Your natural reward system will remember these positive feelings and correlate them with the use of the substance. As you fulfill your natural desire for immediate gratification, the positive effects of the substance are reinforced.


As you continue to use a substance, this reinforcement strengthens. As addiction can set in after various amounts of use, you eventually may develop a dependence on the substance to release dopamine and feel sensations of pleasure. Eventually, your body will lower the amount of dopamine released regularly because of the amount that is released when under the influence of a substance.


Likelihood of Addiction


Various external factors may influence the potential of becoming addicted. Some individuals are naturally more prone to addiction than others, based on their past experiences and biological history. Understanding your biology can help you to determine if you are at a high risk of developing an addiction. Having a family history of substance use disorder can potentially increase your chances of developing an addiction.

The environment you grew up in can also impact your likelihood of developing an addiction. If the act of substance use was common within the community in which you were raised, it might be viewed as normal behavior. Different parenting styles can affect the potential of developing an addiction as well. Discussing the risks involved with substances with your children can help them to make better decisions in their future and understand the actions they are engaging in when it comes to substance use.


Becoming Addicted


The act of becoming addicted to a substance can be extremely difficult to recognize. As most addictions have a slow onset, it can be easy to overlook the negative effects of substance use. By the time the negative effects begin to show, it is often past the point of addiction. It is easy to observe the immediate pleasure but forget the potential long-term effects of substance use.


Because of this slow onset and struggle to acknowledge addiction, it can be extremely hard to stop using a substance once the problems become clear. When attempting to stop using, many withdrawal effects and cravings set in, reinforcing the body to use the substance again.


Addiction is often viewed as a cycle because of these common realizations. After developing a tolerance to the substance, you slowly need to increase the amount you use to feel desired effects. As you continue increasing use, your body develops a dependence upon the substance, and the cycle of addiction continues. Individuals will often attempt to quit using the substance but find themselves relapsing, starting the cycle all over again.

Because of this cycle and the commonality of relapsing, it is important to get professional help immediately to overcome your addiction. Getting help as soon as possible can help ease the recovery process and lead you to a sober life as quickly as possible. As each addiction may arise in its way, understanding basic warning signs and how addiction works can help you recognize this disorder.

Accepting Addiction


As you have reviewed the criteria for addiction and the onset of addiction, you may find that you potentially fall into this category. Accepting the idea of having an addiction can be extremely difficult to adjust to. Learning how to accept your addiction and take the proper steps to move forward is essential. While learning to accept an addiction is challenging, it is the first step toward recovery and sobriety. We are here to help you find a recovery program to suit your needs and help support you through this stage of acceptance.


People can develop an addiction through various experiences. Many factors may influence the potential of addiction, from biological conditions to everyday situations and the social circles you engage with. Being aware of how addiction occurs and the warning signs of being aware of it can help you understand how to recognize addiction and get immediate help if necessary. If you find yourself developing signs of addiction, we recommend seeking professional help immediately. Putting off the recovery of addiction will only strengthen the reinforcing factors of the addiction and cause the recovery process to be more difficult. As some occurrences may increase the likelihood of addiction coming into play, addiction is possible for anyone to develop after only one use of a substance. To learn more about how people become addicted and to gain skills in recognizing an addiction, reach out to California Care Detox & Treatment at (949) 281-0632.

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