Addiction is an incredibly complicated issue from which millions of American families suffer. This issue affects the mind, body and spirit of an individual. When society thinks about addiction they think of drugs. The more ignorant the person is the harsher the drug is and the more destructive it can be on an addict’s life. The truth is that addiction is not black and white. Like everything else in the world there is a lot of grey area. Addiction cannot be envisioned or described as a dichotomy; addict and not addict. Instead, addiction must be seen in a spectrum or in a linear sense. There is social drinking and to a very, very limited extent of social drug use. Further down the path or linear plane there is almost substance abuse or addictive traits/qualities. This line continues to move down towards the end, moving from left to right, of the line to addict. By understanding that addiction is not simply one or the other is the beginning to understanding addiction. The next very crucial piece of information regarding addiction is that addiction is not solely based on substance use and abuse. Individuals can be addicted to any number of people, places, substances and activities. Addiction is defined as the systematic use of substances that are harmful to the body and is characterized by compulsive, chronic drug searching and consumption. Addiction is present when the person in question knows the damage they are causing and continues their addictive behavior. For example, gambling, sex and exercise can all be addictions to which someone suffers. What is consistent in all addiction is that taking some drug, drinking alcohol or engaging in an addictive activity changes the way someone feels. The change in feeling or sensation seeking is what creates an addiction. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that is triggered that can cause an addiction, but what is dopamine?
Dopamine: Nature Pleasure
Research has shown that dopamine is a chemical that is connected to feelings of pleasure. This natural chemical is released in a part of the brain that is known as the pleasure center. This chemical is also released during certain activities like sex, eating and gambling. When people drink alcohol and/or do drugs the brain also creates this dopamine. This is an essential chemical in the human body, but is also responsible for motivation and excitement. Studies have proven that without this chemical humans could possible cease to exist. When mice were deprived on dopamine they lost the will to eat and eventually starved to death. The brain, as we know, is incredibly strong and complex. It will seek out more of this natural chemical, dopamine, even when it requires doing something that is harmful. This is exactly why it can be so difficult for some addicts to overcome their addictions.
Wealth and Power Addiction
No one wants to be poor. No one wants to live paycheck to paycheck. It is very natural to want to be your own person or boss. Not having power or respect can be troubling for most. The idea of power and wealth can be what drives people. When gaining more money and power becomes more important than family and health is when a problem has been created. Addiction to power and wealth is real. Those who are addicted to power and wealth feel best when they are ‘standing over everyone else’. Getting a promotion, bonus, more power and higher salaries give these addicts a high of sorts. They experience an increase in dopamine in the pleasure centers of their brains. It is what drives them. They must get more and more to experience that pleasure. These people can experience a number of side effects from this type of behavior such as depression, anxiety, stress, and irrational, destructive behavior. Getting ahead in life is one thing, but power and wealth addictions can have severe consequences. It can be very difficult to detect an addiction of this sort. Driven and addiction in this case is tough to separate. Strange or aggressive behavior can be signs that a loved one is addicted to power and wealth. Speaking with professionals about addiction and engaging in counseling is the best action when someone is addicted to something.