The process of developing an addiction usually follows a pattern, regardless of the activity you become addicted to. There is a common misconception that has likely reified the concept into a simplistic definition; one that is inclined towards substance. Addiction does not necessarily have to deal with a substance. You can develop an addiction to eating, talking, masturbating, just the same way you get addicted to cigarette or bhang smoking.
At early stages the process is usually subtle and mostly subconscious. For the case of drugs, almost all addicts will have succinct picture of how they started; usually a few hurried gulps of the father’s favorite ‘long neck’ caring not to be seen; a bottle of Smirnoff which got them really high and chattering through the party; a stick of marijuana from a willing friend or a cigarette that appeared irresistible given the way a certain fatherly figure seemed to have felt heavenly while smoking it.
This would be followed by a series of like behavior occasioned by similar chances. The person usually repeats the action a number of times over a given period of time and cannot clearly tell the point when they could no longer back off this act.
Why can a person not simply stop the act as soon as they realize it has blown out of proportion? Why do they continue the act against their own will? Why does the process of rehabilitation from drug addiction so delicate that it can be fatal if not properly monitored?
The start of addiction is always a voluntary step. Your father smokes, you notice and become curious. You steal and smoke it.
You attend a party, people are all drinking and you are invited to have a taste; it tastes sweet (because it is Namaqua). You drain a glass, and wish it was a few inches deeper, just before you begin speaking louder and more than the music system.
You are just about to make the final turn to the hostel washrooms, when your nose picks a familiar smell. You decide to give a hand shake to the group of comrades involved in a hushed discussion a few meters away; they offer you a stick of bhang, which you accept ‘because you are a man’
You like the experience. So you get bored and feel like doing something different; you want a little adventure so you go for the drug you just tasted a few days back. Remember in each of these cases you could opt to refuse, but you just decided; why not?
Soon you decide to repeat the practice, because you are stressed and a friend said this usually work for them, or merely because you are tuned to it after having liked the experience. You do not notice it, but at this juncture your brain is releasing the happiness hormones like endorphins that stimulate the excitement.
This act becomes the triggering activity for the release of the hormones. Your body starts to relate the triggering activity to the sensation that it will cause as a cause-effect relationship. This begins to condition your body to an addiction.
You are welcoming a new habit; the condition now triggers a biochemical process in your body whose subsequent repetition soon gets your system conditioned to releasing the hormones.
You completely destroy a plant only when you dig its roots. Repetition of an activity gets entrenched as a condition in your system; a system controlled by a central engine in your body called neuroendocrine system.
The neuroendocrine system is the combination of interaction and interplay of the endocrine and the nervous system; the central nervous system.
Our bodies are made up of cells. And cells are components of the network of glands known as the neuroendocrine system that controls the internal state of balance in the body.
Therefore, when the body has been conditioned to react in a certain way, the neuroendocrine system becomes programmed to direct that certain response as a way of life. Getting out of an addiction therefore means deprogramming your body; which simply is reconditioning your hormonal responses.
Every hormonal response is controlled by the neuroendocrine system. For one to fully recover from an addiction therefore, their neuroendocrine system must be reconditioned to direct the normal response.
Medical Doctor Dalal A Akoury is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist based in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach. She has a vast experience in medicine having served as a medical practitioner for thirty six years after receiving her medical degree from the University of Alexandria, Faculty of Medicine.
Dr. Dalal Akoury currently runs a medical facility Awaremed Health and Wellness Resource Centre located in Myrtle Beach South Carolina. This medical facility is the brainchild of the doctor.