Drug and alcohol dependence is a terrible struggle for people with addictive tendencies. Experts say more than 20 million people use drugs.
Often, those with a drug addiction will also struggle with alcohol. Studies find the number of drug abuse victims who struggle with alcohol is around 80 percent. The reason is that they’re both addictive substances, that affect the brain in the same way.
The Science of Addiction
If you want to know the difference between an addict brain vs a normal brain, follow science. It’s all in the principles of pleasure.
This principle says that rewards such as food, sex, money, and drugs all give off the same stimulation. Pleasure of any kind releases dopamine into the brain.
That’s why drugs and alcohol are so addictive. They create a fast-moving pleasure and reward of dopamine levels. The brain remembers the feeling, which creates more cravings for the substance.
How Does Drug Addiction Work?
It’s rare for you to wake up one day and think “I’m going to become addicted to something.” No one goes about their lives aiming for substance abuse.
The problem with substances like drugs is that they rewire the brains functions. Some drugs, like heroin, work by sending abnormal signals through the cells. This effects how certain areas of the brain perform, leading to addiction.
Alcohol Addiction and the Brain
The trouble with alcohol is that it can be more accessible than drugs. Alcohol is something that can be a casual thing, but for some, it turns into a nightmare. How does alcohol turn into an addiction?
Like other addictive substances, alcohol produces more dopamine as you drink. The trouble with this is that it causes a sort of dopamine resistance in the brain over time. With this, comes the inability to feel a buzz unless you increase your intake.
The Signs of Drug and Alcohol Dependence
The signs aren’t always clear that you or someone you know has a dependence on drugs. It can take a while before you’re aware your intake has created an addiction.
It’s critical to know the signs of dependence:
- Cravings – you need it right now
- Dependence – you can’t feel anything without it
- Money issues – you’re starting to spend too much on substances
- Neglect – you miss work or stop seeing people
- Withdrawal – when you do miss, you get sick or feel pain
These are only a few of the signs you could have a substance abuse problem. It’s a subtle transition, but it’s important to keep an eye on your habits. Going through a detox program is easier if you go at the first signs of a problem.
If you think you or someone you know has a drug and alcohol dependence, you can get help. You should never feel you have to go through this difficult time alone.
At the Nova Vital Recovery Center, we’ll dedicate our time to helping you. Addiction and dependence don’t have to dictate your life anymore. Contact us at to find out more information!