An addiction is a relationship with drugs or alcohol or other experiences which you use more than you would like to use, and you continue to use despite negative consequences.
People use drugs or alcohol or others stimulators to escape, relax, or to reward themselves. But over time, drugs and alcohol make you believe that you can’t cope without them, or that you can’t enjoy life without using. The greatest damage is to your self-esteem.
An addictive substance feels good because it stimulates the pleasure center of the brain through neurotransmitters such as dopamine and GABA. If you have a genetic predisposition, addictive substances don’t just feel good. They feel so good that you will want to chase after them.
This is where addiction comes in. If you have a genetic predisposition, addictive substances feel so good that you are willing to suffer negative consequences in order to get more and to continue to feel the high.
Addictive substances feel different inside an addict’s brain than they do to a non-addict. This is why the two sides have difficulty understanding each other. In someone who is not addicted, drugs and alcohol only produce a mild high. Therefore a non-addict cannot understand why the addict would go to such lengths, when it is clearly destroying their life.
Denial is a big part of addiction. Because addictive substances feel good, an addict will initially deny that they have a problem. In the long-run addiction isolates you from the people and activities and that mean the most to you.