Every decision we make must be decided in our own minds. When we make decisions we analyze the benefits, hazards, risks, and moral values that each decision will cause or relate to. Everyone makes a bad decision several times in their lives, but most do not make those that will severely hurt their lives/future. Addicts make decisions with a different set of morals, goals and justifications. Addiction affects everything that an addict does. Each individual addict has a different fight they are battling, even if they are using the same or similar drugs. Each person has different co-occurring issues, pasts or presents that continue to push them into a deeper circle of addiction.

New Studies: Addiction and the Brain

Neuroscientists have found that there is visible evidence showing signs of brain activity in response to craving drugs like nicotine when making decisions. Connections between these decision making parts of the brain could provide a link between drug addiction and decision making. New studies in the field of neuroeconomics are striving to find a connection between brain functions and calculating the consequences and rewards of choices. This fascinating area of study is creating breakthroughs that can help treatment specialist better understand addiction and addicts choices. In the past, it was understood that addicts were focused on immediate rewards (doing drugs now) and less on long term rewards (like getting clean). The new study is yielding results that the value of the drug, degree of which the craving occurs, is determined by the availability of the drug, ability to quit using drugs and a number of other factors. The study, using functional MRI’s, can visibly show the brain’s level of desire for the drug to the point of predicting consumption. In several studies scientists have found the region of the brain that responds to cravings for tobacco. It has been estimated that inactivating another part of the brain, part of this craving process, could limit or stop that craving. Professionals hope that this research could lead to cognitive behavioral treatments to reduce or eliminate cravings in addicts. This study has only been conducted in relation to nicotine and has yet to provide concrete evidence for clinical use. Nevertheless, this study is eye opening in terms of drug/alcohol craving and addiction.

Getting Help for an Addict

Speaking with professionals is the best way to get help for an addiction. Many addicts mistakenly try to get clean on their own for years before realizing their addiction is much too strong. Addiction is complex and dangerous. It requires skilled treatment from a professional treatment center. Those battling addiction who are ready to overcome that obstacle and get clean should seek the help of a drug addiction hotline, licensed help center or addiction specialist. There are intervention specialists that can help families and friends confront the addiction problem. This is a problem that affects millions of Americans every year and should be handled professionally. The stigma for addiction is still very real and powerful. Addicts and their families should understand that addiction is not an issue of control or sense of right and wrong. Drugs and alcohol drastically alter the way the brain and body function. Years of substance abuse and addiction can completely change the way a person behaves and computes information. The way they make decisions is different from that of a sober person. Addicts make decisions that help them continue to abuse drugs and/or alcohol. They do not want to hurt themselves or those around them, but the craving to abuse drugs and alcohol are too strong.