Some people cannot quit their substance abuse because they have become physically dependent on the substance. Substances such as alcohol and heroine create a physical dependence within the person that is very difficult to overcome. When the person is becoming hooked to the substance, they find that they have built up a tolerance to the substance and need to progressively use more and more of it in order to continue feeling its mind altering effects. What they do not realize is that their system is becoming so accustomed to the substance that it is learning to rely on it in order to function. A person’s biochemistry changes around the substance they are abusing and in many cases, become dependent on it.
Any type of substance abuse or substance addiction that persists over time does a great deal of harm to the abuser. Drug abuse and alcoholism are the epitome of a vicious cycle. Someone who has never struggled with substance abuse or addiction may not understand why someone would keep returning to behavior that was harming them. It is a valid question, but unfortunately, science does not fully understand the origins of addiction and substance abuse. We do know that it is all an effort to create brain chemicals associated with pleasure, such as dopamine, but we do not understand why an addict’s ability to resist cravings is so impaired. This reoccurring behavior makes the individual’s addiction or substance abuse like a prison sentence to them.
There are also a number of substances that are not physically addictive, but are emotionally addictive. Even if a substance does not create a physical dependence within a person, such as in the case of marijuana, it can still create an emotional or psychological dependence within the person. People who are prone to addiction or substance abuse problems have underlying psychological reasons for their dependence issues that can date back to their childhoods. Determining the cause of an addiction is something that a mental health professional should handle as it involves complex psychology and a thorough understanding of mental processes.