Tolerance helps to explain the progressive nature of addiction. When an individual first encounters a potentially addictive substance or behavior, he or she may experience a favorable physical or mental response. The substance or behavior triggers the release of chemicals that stimulate the brain’s reward system and the user experiences a “high.” It is this high that motivates the user to continue using the substance or engaging in the behavior.
But the brain and body are highly adaptable. With time, the initial quantity or frequency are no longer sufficient to achieve the “high” or “fix” that the individual has come to enjoy and/or need. The process of the brain and body “getting used to” the substance or behavior, and thus requiring greater quantities or more frequent engagement is the development of tolerance. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Scottsdale Recovery Advisor at 888-478-0036.
As tolerance develops, physical dependence is developing simultaneously. It becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to limit or decrease quantities and frequency of use without experiencing withdrawal symptoms (psychological or physical). Addiction has set in; there is no going back.