Why Is Drug Addiction So Hard To Break?

It may seem innocent and harmless to try a hard drug even one time, but that one time is all you need for your brain to be dramatically changed by the usage. If you're struggling to get over a drug addiction, no matter how much or little of it you've taken, you're not alone. It's natural to have a hard time to get over drugs. Here's why.


When you do anything pleasurable, your body produces a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is sort of like the body's own drug. When it's produced, you feel a sense of ease, comfort, relaxation, and even a 'high.' Dopamine can release all the time, in response to even the smallest things, like accomplishing a goal or running a lap. This brain chemical plays an important role in your addiction to drugs and your inability to get over it.

Abnormal Levels

When you do something like win a game, your brain does produce dopamine. But the level of dopamine that it produces in comparison to when you take an illegal drug is completely different.

Drugs effectively hijack your brain into producing far more dopamine than it normally would, and over a longer period of time, too. Your brain is effectively washed in dopamine, which is what leads you to feel so good when you take drugs.

Unfortunately, this abnormal level of dopamine can make everything else look pale and plain in comparison. The small dose of dopamine you get from accomplishing a goal will feel like nothing in comparison to taking a drug, and most of the time taking the drug is easier anyway.

Breaking the Habit

One of the problems with getting over what amounts to a dopamine addiction is the fact that your brain is producing dopamine all the time, so you're never fully free of it. It's like being addicted to food; you have to eat, so how do you get over being addicted to it? The answer is with help.

Getting clean is one way to get over your dopamine addiction. The good news is that while it's hard at first, your brain will gradually adjust back to getting used to less dopamine, just like breaking a coffee habit. Eventually small doses of dopamine will feel really good again and you'll be able to feel happy and excited over the little things. By this point staying away from drugs will be much easier, but until then, you'll likely need the help of a professional. They'll be there for you during your darkest hours and can get you through the bad times to keep you away from the drugs. They can also medically monitor you to ensure that you're safely going through withdrawal and aren't hurting yourself.

If you or a loved one is getting over a drug addiction consider finding a counselor, like Sharon O'Connell, MA, for help. 

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