1. Dopamine Levels Change- When substance abuse occurs this causes the levels of dopamine in the brain to increase. Dopamine causes a pleasure response that is noticed by the brain, and this sensation is remembered and sought out. That is why substance abuse becomes such a big problem in spite of the problems and drawbacks that this activity has.
2. Changes In Thought Patterns- When substance abuse is occurring this changes the thought patterns and brain waves that you have. Eventually using the drug or alcohol will take on the same importance as eating, sleeping, and other activities that are required for survival.
3. Uncontrollable Cravings Start- Abuse and addiction will trigger cravings that may seem uncontrollable. Your thoughts may be unable to move away from the activity or substance that is the center of the addiction. Getting the drug or alcohol may seem paramount and you may be willing to do things that you would normally not consider just to get the cravings to stop.
4. Everything Else Seems Less Important- As the addiction takes hold then you may find that friends, family, your job, and other activities become less important. The drug or alcohol may take over your entire life, and may be the only thing that you can think about. Without the substance you may feel unable to function correctly.
5. Rationalization And Denial Occur- As you develop an addiction you will realize that your brain finds ways to rationalize your behavior and continued use. You may deny that there is a problem even though your life is slowly disintegrating and this should be apparent.