Addiction


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            According to Psychology Today "addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health". Whether it's gambling, cigarettes, drugs, or something else, addiction is a serious issue that plagues our world today. So what is it about addiction that causes a person to continue a bad habit even when they know that they are causing harm to themselves and to their loved ones? Well I'm not sure, and am very curious to find out especially because I have loved ones who are suffering from addiction, so lets take a deeper look into the topic and find out.

According to TIME Magazine addiction is associated with a single chemical in the brain known as dopamine. Dopamine can be looked at as our bodies reward system that provides us with a euphoric feeling when we do something good such as get good grades, lend a helping hand, or even have sex. Dopamine is an essential chemical in the body for survival, and scientists believe that the dopamine system arose very quickly in the process of evolution because it rewards us for behaviors that are essential for survival. For instance if sex were not pleasurable, we would not partake in it, therefore causing no reproduction of the population and rapid extinction. When someone becomes addicted to drugs they don't crave the drugs per se, however they crave the rush of dopamine that these drugs give them. This situation can also be looked at as to why we have an urge to better ourselves, for instance an urge to achieve good grades. If getting an "A" on a blog period did not provide me with a rush of satisfaction then I would most certainly not be blogging right now, however since I do feel good about myself after achieving a good grade on something I continually strive to obtain that feeling. Although it may seem hard to believe right now, I am not blogging to achieve a good grade, I am blogging to achieve the feeling of satisfaction that the good grade will provide me with, and for many of us this is why we become addicted.

Based on this information I would say that we are all addicted to something, however some of us get addicted to the wrong things and on a much deeper level than other people. The reason why drugs are so dangerous, is that they are highly addictive thanks to the powerful dopamine rush the drugs provide. With some drugs this addiction is stronger than others based on the chemical properties of the drug and how greatly they effect our bodies reward system.  Gambling on the other hand is not an addictive habit until you win for the first time and experience the "reward" of winning. When people gamble they are not necessarily gambling for the money, rather they are gambling for the satisfaction that the money will provide for them. The more successful of a gambler you are the deeper the addiction to it becomes. Addiction and this dopamine release are the reason why adrenaline junkies exist, for them they are willing to put there lives on the line performing foolish acts, just to achieve an adrenaline rush, which for them also releases a dopamine rush. I would say that adrenaline junkies are not addicted to the stunts they preform, rather they are addicted to the adrenaline rush that these activities provide them with.

Overall I believe that addiction is a serious problem that our world faces today, and that the main culprit to blame for our world's addiction problem is dopamine, a chemical substance vital for survival, which just goes to show how messed up our body's reward system truly is. The reason why addiction ultimately tears families apart is that, the addicted person begins to get more satisfaction out of the dopamine rush form the vice of addiction, than they receive from their own family or their families success. Dopamine is a sick chemical which causes great trouble in our world, however it truly is just something that you can't live with or can't live without and this is why addiction is such a widespread problem in our world today. 

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