What Really Causes Addiction?

April 15th, 2013 | Posted by Sherry Gaba in Uncategorized


Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1 and is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. You can download free E books at www.sherrygaba.com or contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba” on CBS Radio. Struggling with your own love junkie dramas? You’re not alone. Join my free newsletter community to get the support you need to stop the madness before it affects your next relationship or the one you are in now.  – Get the Love You Truly Deserve!

When people hear of addiction their first thoughts typically revolve around drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling or, more recently, viewing pornography. There is no doubt that all of these types of addictions have a major negative impact on a person’s life. However, what about normal and even necessary behaviors that become addictions? When is a behavior too much of what is typically considered a good thing?

To understand this question it is first important to understand what causes addiction in the first place. Addiction is no longer a mystery; science and research have shown that addictions are caused by chemical changes in the brain that drive compulsive types of behaviors, regardless of the negative impact those behaviors may have in the short and long term. In fact, addicts themselves typically understand how their behavior is destroying their life but the pleasure and reward of doing the behavior overrides the desire to stop.

When the behavior, be it drugs, shopping, watching porn or gambling causes the brain to release the “feel good chemicals” we feel pleasure. Of course pleasure is a reward itself so our brain remembers what activities cause pleasure and which ones cause pain or other sensations. Our brains want the pleasurable result, so we are prompted to repeat the actions to produce those sensations. Over time we have to increase the duration and intensity of the action, leading to addictions.

Behaviors, even otherwise healthy behaviors, can become addictive if our brains create those new pleasure mechanisms and pathways. A person that finds pleasure in work completion, which is generally considered a good and desirable attribute, may find that work becomes all important in their life. They may ignore family, personal care and health or any type of relationships just to find satisfaction in their career. Finding that great sale at the mall is no different than gambling to win the jackpot, it is all about the pleasure that the brain experiences.

Addictions come in many forms and can impact literally anyone. Not everyone’s triggers will be the same to form an addiction but once there, addictions are going to destroy the individual’s quality of life regardless of their nature.

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