Why do some people check their drug-taking while others relapse into addiction?
Mind Relapse Addiction

Why do some people check their drug-taking while others relapse into addiction?

Jocelyn Tourtellotte
Jocelyn Tourtellotte

In 10 seconds? A 2021 study into drug-seeking behavior found why the risk of relapse may be increased in cocaine users after a lack of access to the drug, even after withdrawal symptoms have passed: because of engrained drug-seeking behavior in response to triggers in their environment.

What is the difference between craving and seeking? Drug cravings are the result of forming connections in the brain that support the habit. These connections form after an individual draws a positive association between taking a drug and feeling good. The good feeling and the reinforcement of the habit are both driven by the release of the same molecule when you eat sugar, dopamine in the brain. Seeking behavior requires more mental flexibility than habitual behavior, as the route to the goal is generally more complex than something done habitually. For example, do you ever find yourself checking your phone for no reason? This is a habitual behavior for many people. This is akin to having such a hankering for a particular snack that you go, buy the ingredients, come home, and make it. The steps between the craving and the need require thought and deliberate actions.

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