How does addiction begin?

How does addiction begin

It is a very frequent occurrence at our facility  when people ask us ‘How does addiction begin?’

The ones who are directly affected by it are not only unaware, but the way it affects them is so severe that they are unable to comprehend its issues.

Asked by family members on a regular basis, we have psychoeducated many people on the topic of substance addiction. As a prominent psychiatrist in Delhi, we have encountered cases that lack any insight of the situation they are in and need constant guidance to steer clear of their maladaptive behaviors.

Every person is different, and so is their situation, habits and predispositions towards the development of an addiction. Today, we’ll discuss the beginning of an addiction journey, and how we can steer clear of them with the right intervention.

Beginning of addiction

The National Institute of drug abuse defines addiction as a chronic condition. Addiction alters the experience of pleasure and disrupts the body’s natural pleasure centers. The body seeks a higher level of stimulation every time, which results in over consumption of the substance. Every single time, the body’s need for the substance goes up, that ultimately turns to addiction.

Going into depth, the body releases dopamine which is a feel good chemical for the brain. It starts from nucleus accumbens which is the pleasure center. Dopamine here acts as a reward which motivates the system to repeat the acts and gain the same pleasure again and again.The burden on the pleasure center to seek the same level increases, thus leading to addictive behaviors.

Reasons for substance addiction

Addiction is a result of many situational factors, and continuous exposure to these factors are responsible for it. Some of these are-

  • Curiosity
  • Peer pressure
  • Dealing with difficult situations
  • Avoiding stressful situations
  • Family environment and abuse


No matter how the triggers develop, until and unless an intervention is provided, this casual use of substances is sure to turn into addiction.

Development of addiction

As the brain and body slowly adjust to the presence of the addictive substance, the feelings of pleasure start to develop with each consumption. As time passes, the body requires more and more of this to sustain this level and produce a higher level of pleasure  (since it builds tolerance).The brain now relies on this to maintain a normal functioning. Since the tolerance becomes higher, the new normal for the brain starts to shift. The balance of the mind and the body is determined by this tolerance. If the person stops using these substances abruptly, this causes symptoms of withdrawal, which suggests that the person has developed addiction.

Social factors are also highly responsible. For example- when a social gathering is conducted, you might feel the urge to indulge in light drinking and enjoyment even when you don’t want to. Here, the factors of peer pressure, belonging and social norms play a huge part.

Ease of access can also fuel this dependence. Without any restraint, the person feels that they can access the substance anytime that results in reckless usage.

Researches on addiction- insights from best psychiatrist in delhi

It is true that addiction is a moral and control failure, but it also comes with the fact that addiction permanently alters the brain structure and chemistry. It takes a significant amount of time to get it back to a functioning stage and pave the way for a functioning neural chemistry. Researchers have found that-

  • Addictive substances destroy key brain survival regions
  • The pleasure and reward systems of the brain are hijacked to want more of the substance. Inducing dependency
  • Emotion and flight- fight response is over stimulated, resulting in anxiety and stress as withdrawal symptoms
  • Severe damage to prefrontal cortex ensues, that results in ineffective decision making
  • There is a genetic component related to addiction, and that is why some people are highly vulnerable to developing addiction while others are not.
  • Teens are highly vulnerable to developing addiction, since their frontal lobes are not fully developed and their impulse control is not matured


Addiction can be a deadly disease, with highly problematic consequences. It is with the right guidance and treatment plans, one can resolve their addiction in no time.

Learn to cease addiction at Tulasi Healthcare

Treatment programs for addiction require a lot of effort and research, and we at Tulasi Health Care have years of experience in the field. Our learning has pointed us to a variety of methods and modalities to get rid of addiction at its core. Some of them are displayed as follows-

  • Medically assisted detoxification
  • Talk therapies like CBT or DBT
  • Holistic therapies like Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness
  • Group counseling
  • Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Individual counseling
  • Aftercare planning

Do you have an addiction?- Seek Help Now

Determining that you or your loved one is suffering from addiction is not as easy as it looks. Acknowledging and taking a step forward is never easy, but developing an insight is necessary.

A yes to any of the below mentioned questions might be your cue to visit an expert like Dr. Gorav Gupta who is a renowned psychiatrist in Delhi, with a specialization in treating addiction disorders.

  • Have you started consuming more substances these days and feel you can’t function without them?
  • Do you feel you are restless and anxious whenever you are unable to consume the substance for longer periods of time?
  • Have you ever denied your condition or lied to others about the use of substance and its effect on your behavior?

It is just not enough to say ‘No’ to the substance. It is essential to take necessary steps to expel it from our lives and seek expert help in case the situation seems out of control. At Tulasi Healthcare, you receive the best care, consultation and management plan from the team of 100+ experts. Understanding the need to putting your well being first, we urge you to make an essential evaluation of your life and visit our rehab center today for an in-depth consultation.

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