Exploring the Psychological Effects of Addiction

Exploring the Psychological Effects of Addiction-1

Table of Contents

Addiction may stitch its web in stealth, turning into a mental health disorder. Detecting the development of drug addiction at early stages and various treatment options for overcoming an addiction is a must-know-how for today’s society.


Drug Addiction


Addiction is a state of condition or behavior of the human body seeking more of a particular substance or a particular activity, resulting in high dopamine release into the brain. The leisure obtained by the dopamine release will make an individual repeat the cycle of consuming more of it, thus entering into the phase of addiction. The activity, which was once started due to peer or family influence, has now turned into a condition affecting the psychological and physical state of an individual.


Science of Addiction: Psychological effects


Understanding the science of addiction is important for the treatment purposes of people with addiction and the self-awareness of an individual. It may also help an individual from even trying to avoid the usage of drugs intake. The science of addiction includes the study of various chemical reactions made by different substances on our brain’s chemical circuits and their effects on our behavior and physical condition. It is also important to understand the psychological factors that lead to addiction.


Neurological Changes Due to Addiction


Dopamine is a chemical that is induced in the body when the brain experiences pleasure from some activity or by consuming anything. Dopamine is like a reward to the brain, which in turn makes the individual happy. Even though the chemical dopamine is important for our body, the inducing of it by any substance-consuming or non-substance addictive activity is harmful to the body, leading to a condition called addiction.


On reaching the stage of addiction, dopamine will get released only on increased consumption of the same substance, causing changes in the neural structuring of the brain. Drugs being consumed alter the level of dopamine, elevating the repeated and increased dosage of requirement.


Behavioral Addiction: Evolution of a New Individual Within One
Compulsive Behaviour


The behavior of loss of control towards activity or substance will make an individual turn into a condition of compulsive behavior. This can also be termed as the individual’s lack of capability to stop using a substance or activity.




When the desire towards a particular drug or substance has reached intense levels, it can be termed as a craving. The craving towards a specific substance will make the individual prioritize it over other important aspects of life. This will, in turn, affect the physical and mental well-being of individuals.




Continuous and repeated drug use will help the body increase the tolerance level. This will, in turn, force the brain to consume more of it for the desired levels of pleasure. This is also the stage at which an individual starts exhibiting withdrawal symptoms.


Cognitive Challenges in Substance Use Disorder
Difficulty in decision-making


Decision-making by a brain is a complex process involving inducing various chemicals, comparing various situations, processing the history stored in the brain, and firing up various brain circuits. The presence of drugs or other chemicals in the brain impairs the working of these chemicals and may result in wrong decision-making or the inability to make a decision.


For instance, the chemicals involved in alcohol slow up the reactions in the brain because of its chemical properties.


Difficulty in long-term planning capability


Continuous substance use impairs the cognitive functions of the brain, which deals with the strategic thinking capability and decision-making process. The individual will be affected in his ability to plan for the future.


Substance addiction and its Emotional Effects


A person experiencing addiction goes through a lot of mood changes within a short period. Its severity increases with the type of drug and the dosage at which the drug is being consumed by the individual.


Individuals will experience irregular emotions leading to hyper-activeness or responding highly emotionally to an event. The individual also feels the difficulty of fighting with a situation involving stress.

Exploring the Psychological Effects of Addiction
Drug addiction and its impact on relationships


A person struggling with addiction often goes through a series of explosions in the brain circuit, which will hamper the individual’s capability to recognize his loved ones and peers. From the individual’s actions and behavior, society will perceive the individual as someone who lacks civic sense, hampering the reputation of the individual and family.


The individual will be isolated from social circles, further co-occurring deteriorating his mental condition and may lead to co-occurring disorders.


How to overcome addiction in the face of Co-occurring disorders?


A co-occurring disorder state is a condition in which the person experiences multiple mental states due to drug use and addiction to it. Recovery from addiction for a person undergoing it would be challenging and time-consuming.


This is also the stage at which an individual finds the repeated use of substances to evade from one mental state to another, seeking peace and to help you stay relaxed. The individual, without being aware of the bad side of these drugs, falls into the repeated cycle of drug usage, which is termed the cycle of relapse.


The risks of the young generation becoming addicted


Drug or alcohol addiction is a serious concern observed in the young generation mainly because they are in the stages of brain development. The tendency to experience a particular activity or a substance is seen on the higher side in teenagers. Activities that were started for mere pleasure will turn to the recurring use of drugs, showing symptoms of addiction,


The treatment and Management


Addiction treatment should start with seeking professional help from a good, licensed alcohol and drug counselor. The type of treatment and follow-up changes with the type of disorder the patient is going through. The treatment plan may include physiotherapy for the behavior, or it may be a medicine-assisted treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has multiple support services and treatment programs for various types of addiction.


The state of addiction is a condition wherein the individual with addiction requires a great amount of mental support from family and peers for the process of recovering from addiction.


Addiction alters and damages the brain's chemicals. As a result, the front granular cortex will become weaker.

A person who is addicted to a substance may have a lot of mood changes in a short period. The person may have difficulty dealing with stress.

Treatment for addiction for a person undergoing substance use disorder should begin by seeking treatment from a licensed alcohol and drug counsellor. The counsellor will introduce a form of treatment to recover from addiction.

The main challenge for an individual suffering from a substance use disorder is they are unable to make decisions and make long-term plans.

It is the stage at which an individual starts reducing the usage of drugs or substances. In this stage, the individual goes through a series of physical as well as psychological symptoms.

Contributing Editor

Troy Wakelin – Co-Founder and Contributing Editor SoberCentre.com

Recent Posts
Inspirational Videos
Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign Up For Our Quarterly Newsletter