Addiction specialist Dr. Alan Fisch explains the basics of physical and psychological addiction to drugs.
Interviewer: How is drug addiction both physical and psychological?
Fisch: Addicts do not seek out drugs exclusively for recreational use. Over time, their drug use actually alters the physiology of the brain, which affects one’s self-control and decision-making process.
Interviewer: Is that what makes it difficult for addicts to seek sobriety?
Fisch: Yes. These changes in the brain compel addicts to seek out their drug of choice. Addictive actions are not just the result of some behavioral disorder but a chemical disorder of the brain, considered by the medical community to be a primary disease unto itself.
Interviewer: Why do some people become addicted when they consume certain substances, while others do not?
Fisch: There are a lot of factors at play when considering addiction, including genetics, access to substances, personality type, and other elements.
Dr. Alan Fisch, M.D., is the Director of Psychiatry at Addiction Medicine Associates in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is a Member of the Brookline Mental Health Community Council and the Community Education Chair of the Brookline Medical Reserve Corps.