Compulsive behavior and addiction are a confusing mix for this man against a stone wall.Addiction is a very serious mental illness that affects thousands of people in the United States, and it’s escalating. More and more people each year struggle with addiction, but not everyone understands the illness. There are many people who think those with an addiction should have more willpower. Unfortunately, addiction affects a person’s ability to control his or her compulsive behavior due to issues with brain chemistry.

Understanding Addiction and Compulsive Behavior

People who don’t understand addiction may look at those who have an addiction with a lot of confusion. Most people stop touching the hot stove once he or she feels the burn, but those with an addiction do not. It’s important to understand that someone with an addiction has a brain that’s working much differently. The compulsive behavior of addiction is due to an abnormal functioning of the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

This part of the brain is responsible for some of the following:

  • Logical decision making
  • Moderating the pleasure system
  • Impulse control
  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy

When you understand that this part of the brain isn’t functioning properly, it’s much easier to show empathy for those addicted. For example, someone in a wheelchair with a disability isn’t choosing to not walk, but he or she can’t. Remember that just because you can’t see an illness doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Many people with an addiction to drugs or alcohol would stop if they could.

How Compulsive Behavior Develops

The strongest, most developed part of our brain is responsible for our most primitive instincts and for good reason. Humans, like most living creatures, are reward-based learners by nature, and it’s embedded in us. We evolve like this because it helps us seek food when we’re hungry and water when we’re thirsty. Unfortunately, this can also work in other ways because our brain is constantly trying to solve problems.

Substance abuse turns into an addiction because of this reward-based learning process in the mind. A person may drink or use drugs to just have fun with friends or to experiment. Then a stressful life situation may occur, and he or she may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with stress, sadness, anger or other emotion. The brain logs this as a way to solve the problem, and the person may do this again and again when that same situation and emotion arise.

Every time a person repeats this behavior because of a specific trigger, that habit becomes stronger. Eventually, there’s no thought that happens before the person picks up the drink or the drug because now it’s a compulsive behavior. Since the person has a brain that’s lacking impulse control, there’s often no pause button between the trigger and the reaction happen. The good news is that Beaches Recovery can help you or your loved one with this issue.

Allow Beaches Recovery to Help

Beaches Recovery specializes in treating those who suffer from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The compulsive behavior and the signs of addiction that your or your loved one is suffering may make you feel helpless. Luckily, research shows that specific types of treatment help break the cycle of these types of behaviors. We will work closely with you or your loved one to identify these behaviors and diminish them with addiction therapy and treatment.

One of the major triggers a person has may be the symptoms of mental illness. We offer dual diagnosis treatment for those with co-occurring addiction and mental health issues. We have a qualified staff who can identify the symptoms of mental illness and help you overcome those as well. Our 30-bed facility is located in a beautiful area of Jacksonville, Florida, and we work with different insurance companies. To find out more about the web of compulsive behavior and addiction, give us a call at 866-605-0532.