While misconceptions surrounding substance use may lead you to believe that the condition is caused by a person’s behavior or lack of willpower, it’s important to keep in mind that that’s untrue. Biological factors beyond a person’s control play a major role.
Activation of the brain’s reward center is the primary reason for most addictions. Whether the SUD is due to alcohol, stimulants, or opioids, the rewarding feeling gained from use — involving an abnormally high dopamine release — is often overpowering.
Continued use of the substance may lead to changes in the brain’s structure and function. This can result in intense cravings, withdrawal symptoms, learning and memory problems, and personality changes.
Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of substance use disorder can be the first step toward seeking help and receiving treatment.