Last Updated on May 2, 2018 by Dr. Alberto Solà

Understanding Drug Use and Addiction

It’s tough to understand why people become addicted to opioids if you believe drug addiction is a matter of choice, willpower, or morals. However, drug addiction is a disease which causes physical changes in the brain. The Clear Sky team understands more than anyone in the field about the research on addiction, and we understand how drugs affect the brain. We know how to harness the power of ibogaine to help people lead productive lives by recovering from drug addiction.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive or uncontrollable drug use, and usually drug seeking, despite harmful results.

Repeated drug use changes the brain in ways that lessen self-control; these changes are what make relapses so common.

What Happens to the Brain on Drugs?

Drugs flood the brain’s “reward circuit” with dopamine, the pleasure chemical, causing an artificial high which motivates repeat drug taking

This cycle makes the brain adjust to excess dopamine by making less dopamine itself and responding less to dopamine generally

These changes lead to tolerance, feeling less high with the same amount of drug over time

Long-term drug use causes other brain chemistry changes that affect behavior, decision-making, judgment, learning, memory, and stress.

Why Do People Become Addicted?

Risk for addiction is influenced by a combination of factors; the more factors you have, the greater the risk of addiction you face:

  • Biology – your genes account for about half of your risk for addiction, while other mental health issues, gender, and ethnicity can also play a role
  • Environment – a person’s family (for example, sexual abuse and early exposure to drugs), friends (for example, peer pressure), economic status, and quality of life all influence likelihood of addiction
  • Development – genetic and environmental factors work together to influence addiction risk, and during critical development stages such as puberty, the risk is greater.



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