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Addictive Behaviorisms within the Brain







What makes addiction recovery such a tedious process? There are a lot of steps to take as well as reprogramming the way an addict goes about their daily routines. Basically, the hardest part is getting your brain to act differently to the stimuli that once brought on the habit. It is true—when we repeat actions over and over again, they very much become a part of who we are. A residential treatment program, like Vista Taos Renewal Center in Taos, New Mexico helps people through counseling and complimentary therapies to re-learn how to respond.

Why is it so easy to lapse for weeks on going to the gym, yet so easy to keep on with bad habits and addictions? It all has to do with the pleasure center in your brain. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says “You’re fighting against the power of an immediate reward.” Addictions like those to drugs and alcohol provide immediate pleasure to the reward system in the mind. This is something that rarely happens when someone runs on a treadmill or eats a lean meal. Bad habits can simply feel better, quicker.

The point of treatment is to replace the addictions with more positive habits. People tend to underestimate their ability to succeed against overcoming bad habits. Addiction recovery to many people may seem like a pipedream. However, the bad habit that was learned can be re-learned and the mind can be retrained for the better with a little perseverance. A positive environment, like that you would find at a residential treatment program is a great start.

Bad habits such as addiction are so prevalent in this day and age because of the world around us. We very much live in fast-paced world where people want instant satisfaction and gratification. We take on more than we can in our daily lives and wear multiple hats. At the end of the day, people are left drained. It is often that draining feeling that leads us to self-medicate with alcohol, illegal drugs or prescriptions to numb the undesired feelings. It may be a daily occurrence and with each reinforcement of the addiction, the mind absorbs the process and it becomes as routine as brushing your teeth. We simply do not feel like ourselves until we do our routine. Think of addiction recovery as a new routine.

Dopamine plays a very large role in how addictions are formed. Scientists know that dopamine plays a very important part in everything from smoking cigarettes to overeating and every addiction in between. Dopamine takes our actions and turns them into rewards. The big question is how do we get that rush of good feelings from doing something that is not as detrimental to our health? For starters, repetition; when a good habit is learned to replace a bad habit, you must repeat, repeat, and repeat. A great example and one that is both highly suggested and effective during addiction recovery is an exercise regimen. Know that it is important to do the workout at the same time each day. That is how you successfully program a routine into your brain. You will experience a rise in the levels of dopamine with a good workout, though they may seem lower than when drugs or alcohol were driving the hormones, it will build over time. Patience is a virtue.

Know that stress is a big contributor to our poor habits and our addictions. When we feel overwhelmed, we turn to our addictions. It is important to learn through a residential drug program that stress is a natural part of life, but our reactions to it can be detrimental. Addiction recovery centers like Vista Taos will help teach you how to deal with stress naturally, for instance, with the complimentary therapies they offer. Examples would be massage, yoga, Rosen Method and meditation. Stress is a naturally occurring element in life and we should react in a natural way to alleviate it that does not worsen the situation as drugs and/or alcohol do.

Something in an addict’s environment can be labeled as the trigger to their behavior. While our brains may have developed a sense of need to continue on with the addiction, there is hope and support through a residential treatment program to change the bad into good. Old habits perhaps die hard, but there is hope for them to fade. Addiction recovery can be as simple as replacing the old with the new, do not underestimate your brain’s ability to re-learn healthy habits that will enhance your quality of life.


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COVID-19 update: The health and safety of our clients at Vista Taos is our top priority. Each person admitted to our program will be given a PCR Covid screen upon entry and subsequently will follow our isolation protocol as we await the results.
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