Amy Winehouse's struggle with drink and drug addiction was well known, reflected in her music and widely reported in the media. But how much do we understand addiction? What causes it and why do some people become addicts while others do not?Addiction is naturally associated with drink and drugs, but that is not the whole story.
The NHS points out that people can "become addicted to anything, from gambling to chocolate".
Addiction has to start with exposure, and at some point casual use shifts to dependence. Dr Gillian Tober, president of the Society for the Study of Addiction, said all addiction has to start with first use."It is usually for social reasons - boyfriend, girlfriend, group of friends - it's usually not pleasant but there is a social reward."This then becomes reinforced. "People say their first cigarette is disgusting. Some say never again, some break through and reveal the pharmacological effect."
Drugs directly feed the reward circuitry of the brain, and even in cases such as gambling the brain can learn to look forward to the thrill.
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