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When Pleasures Turn to Diseases

Everyone wants to feel pleasure, but some of us don’t know when to stop. This is the main idea of an article in TIME Magazine’s Special Edition: The Science of Addiction. In the article, “The Disease of the Pleasures,” Jeffrey Kluger explains that most of our brain function is simple. Our brains regulate our breath, manage our memory, and interpret what we see, hear, touch, and taste. These things are done automatically. We don’t have to remind ourselves to breathe or think about what we are tasting. There’s another thing our brains do, however. Our brains process pleasure. Kluger goes on to say that our brain will process the joy of sex, winning a game of poker, or being buzzed on drinks or drugs. “It’s all just chemistry,” he says. “You’d heard other people describe the experiences, and now that you’ve had them yourself, you’d sure like to do it all again. And then again. And yet again. And that’s where things can go awry.”

Temptation and Regret

Kluger describes temptation as “an attractive force that overcomes the friction of your resistance.” These temptations sometimes lead us to feelings of regret if we’ve found that we’ve engaged in the temptation even though we shouldn’t have. “Sometimes we learn from those lost battles,” says Kluger. “With the hangover or the numbers on the scale or the heartbreak of a spouse being enough to set us right. Sometimes, however, there is no lesson learned, or at least no lesson heeded. Instead, we are sometimes powerless to not repeat the behavior. Perhaps we intend to behave — we promise ourselves and the other people in our world that we’ll behave — but always we fail. The action becomes a habit, the habit becomes a compulsion, and the compulsion becomes the life-wrecking disease that is addiction. 

The Numbers Behind the Disease

Opioids alone have wreaked havoc on the American population. “In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses,” reports Kluger. “At this point, an average of 130 [people] are claimed by the drugs every day.” Even though they have done incredible damage, opioids aren’t the only kind of addiction. In 2018, “more than 20 million Americans 12 and older had some kind of substance-abuse disorder,” says the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The statistical evidence is staggering, but here’s the thing: people that are addicted to substances need help, not numbers thrown in their faces. 

Villa Tranquil Recovery is here to give you the help you need. If you are struggling with substance use and you don’t know where to turn, call us today. We can be reached at 214-799-3080. We can’t wait to hear from you.