WHAT IS ADDICTION?

The Vicious Cycle of Drugs and Alcohol

Most addictive substances have the same basic effect on the body. Use creates a "high" that becomes difficult for the body to achieve without upping the dosage. It also becomes difficult for a person to live comfortably without the substance. In this way, substance use can quickly turn to addiction. This produces an unhealthy cycle of pleasure and tension.

The initial consumption of an addictive substance produces a feeling of euphoria – the “high.” It’s followed by an unpleasant “rebound” effect – the “low.” This roller coaster effect results when the body suppresses its normal production of chemicals in the brain – the chemicals that ordinarily produce pleasurable feelings.

Instead of pleasure, this chemical reaction can induce feelings of depression and irritability, and the body physically craves more of the substance to feel good again. This cycle leads to physical loss of control over the use of alcohol and drugs, which subsequently ends in addiction.