What is Addiction?

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a condition in which a person develops a pattern of using drugs, alcohol or maladaptive coping habits. This occurs at an increasing dose and/or rate.  Still despite negative consequences and regardless of knowledge on negative physical and psychological side effects. 

We work with any addiction including alcohol, marijuana, opioids, prescription medication, stimulants, gambling, food, shopping, smoking and any other habitual coping behaviors. 

At EMS, we have the solutions for both psychological and physical dependence. If any of this describes you, you have found yourself in the right place.

The experience of addiction is not something to be ashamed about…

Psychological Dependence 

Fundamental to human wiring, are basic needs/drives. Psychologically, if these needs are not met, then we will based on our instincts for survival, strive to find solutions to what feels like emptiness or a missing piece. Feeling content, complete or satisfied comes from:

1) Pleasure, or absence of pain
2) Food and water
3) Sex and procreation
4) Love and acceptance
5) Relationships, intimacy, and connection
6) security, fairness, and trust
7) Purpose and value
8) Rest and peace
9) Beauty
10) Excitement or wow factors
11) Spiritual connection
12) Feeling content, whole and satisfied

Having these needs met is vital. Individuals seeking to fulfil one or many needs will come up with substitute solutions if they can’t find sustainable ones. Your brain will look upon the substitute as a means of survival. Things that were once pleasurable, like eating and sex, start to feel dull and eventually, not important at all.  These solutions, while they may suffice for a time, are not exactly what is needed, and the likely result is the solution itself turning into a problem.

The good news is, you can build skills for a sustainable recovery and we want to help you accomplish this. Through recovery, you will learn how to meet these needs in a healthy way which ultimately eliminates the need to use substances in your life.

Physical Dependence 

Dopamine is a neurochemical in the brain that helps to maintain the survival of our species. Dopamine is released when we eat and when we have sex. This is designed to ensure that we continue to do these things in order for humans to procreate and advance. However, it turns out that dopamine is also released when we use drugs or alcohol. These increases are so heightened that is messes with our natural levels.  

For example, if we eat our favorite food or engage in a pleasurable activity, our dopamine levels may go from 1 to 2. With these levels, we feel secure and satisfied. Crack or Methamphetamine is thought to go as high as 12. Consequently, when we introduce a substance or drug into the brain the dopamine levels shoot up. Our brains are not designed to work at this high capacity of processing dopamine.   

The dopamine factories shut down because the brain senses there is way too much dopamine being made. As a direct result your natural dopamine levels drop, and over time can become extremely low. The next time you use a substance you will find that you need more to get the same pleasurable result. This is what once felt like a 12, now begins to feel like a 10, and then an 8, and then a 2 and then a 0.

The good news is your recovery is possible and we want to provide you with the best plan, personalized for you, based on medical, pharmacological, and psychological best practices in addiction recovery.

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