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March 3, 2014 Keeping An Open Mind
Addiction: Disease Or Choice

For a long time a controversy has existed between those who believe that addiction is a disease of the brain and those who believe it is a choice one makes to use addictive drugs.

It is a complex question that science has attempted to answer by studying the brain and the way it responds to different stimuli. 

Neuroscientists have found that dopamine (the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, stimulation and drive) gets released in greater amounts when using addictive drugs.

Simply stated, when a person becomes addicted dopamine receptors in his brain become overwhelmed. The brain responds by producing less dopamine or eliminating dopamine receptors altogether. This is the reason that addicts need continually more “dope” to get high.

The compulsion to use at almost any cost takes over and the addict will do practically anything to get high. Although the pleasure the addict gets from ongoing use declines, the memory of that pleasure and the desire to have it again drives the compulsion to continue to use despite often obvious dire consequences.

However, e... Please read on

Signs Of Addiction

Addictions and compulsive behaviors come in many varieties. There is of course substance abuse and drug and alcohol addiction.  But there are also many other types such as gambling, food, sex, exercise and even love.

Whether you believe some of these are actual addictions or define them as compulsive behaviors (see Newsletter on Compulsive Behavior), the signs are similar.

Perhaps you, a loved one or someone you know is struggling with one of these issues. It is not always easy to see. I have listed several tips to help you identify addictive type behaviors

Change in Attitude or Personality: Someone who has typically been upbeat and connected shows signs of becoming aloof and negative, withdrawing or isolating. I am not referring to someone having a bad day…we all have those from time to time. I am referring to a pattern shift which is not making sense to you. 

Change in Mood: Here I am talking about sudden shifts of mood or mood swings, a lack of patience or tolerance, an increase in edgin... Please read on

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