Addiction and the Brain: Both Sides of the Coin
Timothy Aaron Whiston
Caffeine addiction can cause physical damage to the brain. At the same time,
addiction can be the result of abnormal brain function. It’s important to
understand both how too much caffeine can harm your brain and how your brain
anatomy can be the cause of your addiction.
According to leading researchers, including Daniel G. Amen – one of the world’s
top brain scientists – too much caffeine restricts the flow of blood into the
brain. Decreased blood flow will not only result in reduced performance, but can
cause permanent damage.
small amounts of caffeine may actually stimulate concentration and
the average caffeine addict consumes 5 or more cups per day. This excessive
intake of caffeine can produce a variety of harmful effects, including
clear that drinking
too much caffeine can be bad for your brain. Add this to the list of reasons to
the other side of this discussion is the fact that abnormal brain anatomy and
chemistry could actually be the cause of your addiction. New information from
numerous studies indicates that people who are addicted to chemicals are in fact
suffering from a physical illness.
Addicted brains actually function in a way that is dramatically different from
the way normal brains operate. Multiple studies have shown that an addict’s
brain may be physically unable to respond to stimuli or send/receive signals
that would allow the addict to alter his or her behavior.
might sound like an excuse but it’s not. People can conquer their addictions
with the right kind of support and treatment, but understanding how an addicted
brain functions, or fails to function as the case may be, is essential for many
knowing that your brain chemistry and physiology might be abnormal means you can
let go of the guilt you might be dealing with. There is likely a very real
reason for your seemingly absurd inability to just refrain from going overboard
on your daily intake.
Second, understanding your problem may stem from a physical brain condition will
help you accept the fact that you need help from others in order to quit. This
is critical because statistically speaking, very few addicts ever break free
from their vice without substantial support from other people.
Opinions vary in the medical community as to whether or not the abnormal
patterns seen in an addicted brain were present prior to excessive chemical use.
Some physicians believe this off-center chemistry could have been present all
along, and was never a practical issue before the individual began excessive
chemical use. Others insist that chemical abuse actually caused the brain to
develop abnormal function. I’m not sure it really matters at this point to be
fact is if you find yourself on the verge of tears every night, swearing you’ll
reduce your caffeine intake tomorrow, only to drink far too much again the next
day, you most likely have a physical problem. Couple this with the very real
damage continued abuse may be doing to your brain, and you have every reason to
seek real help with your problem.
you can talk to candidly
about your caffeine addiction. And look for a support group that gives you the
opportunity to talk with other people who are struggling with the same issues.
chances of success improve considerably when you take the issue seriously enough
to ask for help. And once you are plugged into a real support group and/or
working with a doctor who understands your needs, you will be well on your way
to breaking free from your caffeine addiction.
Addiction: How do you understand the anxiety that leads to addiction?
Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
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