What happens when you get addicted?

Addiction involves longing for something intensely, losing control over its use, and continuing to engage with it despite adverse consequences. As people continue with addictive habits or substances, the brain adapts. It tries to restore a balance between dopamine surges and normal levels of the substance in the brain, Morikawa said. For this, neurons begin to produce less dopamine or simply reduce the number of dopamine receptors.

The result is that the individual needs to continue to use drugs, or practice a particular behavior, for dopamine levels to return to normal. People may also need to take larger amounts of medication to achieve a high; this is called tolerance. Psychological addiction occurs when cravings for a drug are psychological or emotional. People who are psychologically addicted are overwhelmed by the desire to use a drug.

They can lie or steal to get it. It has a lot to do with brain chemistry. The human brain is programmed to reward us when we do something pleasant. Exercising, eating and other behaviors that are directly related to our survival trigger the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

Drug addiction isn't just about heroin, cocaine, or other illegal drugs. You may become addicted to alcohol, nicotine, sleep and anxiety medications, and other legal substances. The substances produce a feeling of euphoria by triggering large amounts of dopamine in certain regions of the brain responsible for the sensation of reward. Addiction occurs when the act of consuming a substance takes over these circuits and increases the desire to consume more and more of the substance to achieve the same rewarding effect.

Addiction is a condition in which something that started out as pleasurable now feels like something you can't live without. Physicians define drug addiction as an irresistible desire for a drug, compulsive and out-of-control use of the drug, and continued use of the drug despite repeated and harmful consequences. Opioids are highly addictive, largely because they activate powerful reward centers in the brain. Opioids trigger the release of endorphins, the neurotransmitters in the brain that make you feel good.

Endorphins dampen the perception of pain and increase the feeling of pleasure, creating a temporary but powerful feeling of well-being. When a dose of opioid goes away, you may want to recover those good feelings as soon as possible. This is the first milestone on the road to possible addiction.

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