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The Mechanism of Addiction

When life is unbalanced and challenging some times, some people look for ways to help themselves cope. Initially this may improve the way they feel, but often these short term 'fixes' can become habitual behaviours and some may become problematic and end up as an addiction.

People can become addicted to all sorts of things the usual suspects being smoking, drinking or gambling. But people can become addicted to many other things such as buying shoes, checking their smart phone or food.

Our brains have a built-in reward system which is designed to help encourage us to learn, advance, survive, and thrive and it is this reward system that really helped humans prosper as a species.

Interestingly, we produce a natural cocaine-like chemical called dopamine that fixes our attention into a highly focussed state when we’re keen to do or learn something. We feel satisfied once we have become expert at a new skill and it’s another chemical, endorphins, which create this pleasurable feeling.

Dopamine and endorphins exist to encourage us to learn and master new skills, as well as do things essential for survival like having sex, eating, drinking, and resting when tired.

But, the more you have of something, the more you need to get the same level of satisfaction.

When someone is addicted to cigarettes or food, they become accustomed to a certain quantity and need an ever-increasing amount to feel the same effects. Interestingly, the same is true of learning!

When people become competent at a new skill, they get a dopamine and endorphin rush, which is highly enjoyable. But when those new skills become second nature, the person builds up a tolerance and needs to develop further skills to get the same buzz as before.

Therefore, you are driven to continue developing yourself. It could be said, then, that having a so-called ‘addictive personality’ really means that you have great potential to learn and develop!

This is why people become addicted to behaviours like smoking and why they end up needing more and more cigarettes.

Hypnosis is a powerful method for breaking the (potentially) destructive habit and new ways of coping can be learnt so that the 'old crutch' can

be put away once and for all.

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