From some points of view, addiction is not necessarily a matter of willing, but a chronic affection related to the brain. Unfortunately for addicts, the brain tissues responsible for an addiction often tend to overlap with other neural areas that handle the cognitive functions. In other words, an addiction can seriously affect basic functions like reasoning or memory. This is the main reason, wherefore substance abuses tend to become so addictive.
Early abuse underlines specific associations between these crucial functions and the substance. Overtime, cognitive deficits make withdrawal very complicated, while abstinence is almost impossible to achieve without any external helpful. The constant exposure to the chemicals in various substances leads to longterm switches in cognition. With these ideas in mind, substance abuse can be even more challenging in people with mental illnesses.
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How substance abuse and cognition belong to a vicious circle
In a clinical manner, the addiction manifests through a continuous seeking and use. At the same time, cravings can be quite confusing and may occur even after long periods of withdrawal. Most neurologists can agree that an addiction is no longer related to the self control. Instead, it becomes a medical problem of affected cognition. The brain tissues affected no longer have the same structure and functionality.
They go through a series of cognitive changes that stimulate and “recommend” the regular drug use. Maladaptive learning is basically the procedure behind these problems. At the same time, the same issue tends to prevent the implementation of specific behaviors that boost the abstinence. In conclusion, abstinence is not supported by the brain. When the brain is not helping the patient, getting a hand is the best thing to do.
According to a lot of scientists, it seems that addiction may also be taken for a pathological type of learning. It alters the neural procedures of memory, not to mention about learning how to stay safe and survive. Such things might be perfectly normal in healthy people though. In addicts, the addiction is the continuous pursuit of a reward, regardless of its nature. Whether it is a feeling of good mood, happiness, the possibility to overcome stress or just a “high” state of mind, addiction is all about rewarding the patient for their actions.
External help is highly recommended, yet sometimes, it is the family members’ responsibility to identify the harsh effects of such a problem and react by the book.