When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they very frequently find that they are incessantly faced with a desire to use time and time again, despite the fact that often the effectiveness or pleasurable effects associated with a drug have diminished with time. Many addicts may wonder why they feel so compelled to keep using despite the fact that they are no longer receiving the effects that made them so attracted to the drug in the first place.
The answer is that they are likely chasing the first high that they ever got from the drug. What exactly causes you to chase that first high though?
The answer to why you chase that first high lies primarily in your brain's reward receptors. The first time you use a drug, your brain's reward receptors become accustomed to the pleasurable feelings that are associated with using.
This experience actually sets in motion a process in your brain that makes your brain wired to seek that high again and again. The brain begins to associate use, not with with the subsequent experiences you have with any one substance, but with the euphoric feeling it felt upon first contact with the drug.
Tolerance and Chasing the High
One of the physiological effects of alcohol and other drugs is that the more a person uses, the higher dosage they will require to achieve the same results. When a person no longer feels the same way they did when they first began to use, they begin to take more and more of the drug they are addicted to an an attempt to recreate the feeling of that first high.
This becomes a very dangerous practice the longer an addict engages in it. Attempting to attain peak effects of a drug by using more and more of a substance begins to put an addict at higher and higher risk for overdose and damage to major organs.
Withdrawal Symptoms and the Constant Chasing of the High
One reason that an addict is continuously chasing the high is that when they are not, they are feeling the severe effects of a low. This is because the same reward receptors that become so fixated on using send out signals to the brain that begin a process known as withdrawal when the do not receive the drug that they are accustomed to.
Withdrawal symptoms range by drug and user but are generally very unpleasant and can even be dangerous or even fatal. Often an addict finds themselves perpetually using, not only because they are chasing a high but because they are using to diminish the unpleasant effects of withdrawing.
The Sooner You Seek Help the Better
There is no question that addiction can be a dangerous and terrifying disease that can lead to major devastation and destruction in an addict's life. If you find that you are using a substance in excess or using a dangerous or illegal substance, you should seek help immediately.
The sooner you get help, the more likely it is that you will find continued long term success in your quest to build a happier and healthier life. In sobriety, it is possible to finally break the vicious habit of attempting to chase a high that is ultimately unsatisfying and, more importantly, dangerous to your health and well being.
Seeking help will allow you to withdraw in a safe and effective manner and give you the tools you need to live your life in a healthy way, free from the cycle of using and coming down from a high.