Is Substance Abuse a Mental Illness?
For this, we need to analyze the way the body works when a person starts using a substance for recreational purposes. This is how most of them work:-
When a person consumes the substance, the substance will send triggers to the nervous system of the body, which will then increase the secretion of some chemicals that are important for the feeling of happiness that the body experiences, most notably dopamine. The main draw during the initial abuse of the substance is this production of dopamine. The person is consuming the substance actually to condition the mind to release dopamine so that that feeling of pleasure can be experienced.
Now, as the person begins consuming more and more of the substance, the mental system of the person gets immunized and does not secrete as much dopamine as it did in the earlier instances. Consequently, the person begins stepping up the dosage of the substance. This is the beginning of the unbroken cycle of addiction; the person consumes a drug to make the mind happy, but the mind is dissatisfied with that particular amount and asks more of it.
If you consider this now, you will find that the urge for consuming the substance occurs right in the brain of the person. Though the person is physically consuming the substance, the part of the body that is asking for it is the brain and the nervous system. Hence, it does seem quite logical to pair substance abuse with mental illnesses.
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