Some trainers swear that the best way to train puppies is by using treats as a reward system. When the puppy complies a treat is given, thereby associating obedience with a good feeling. Other trainers believe that disciplining and inciting a negative emotion is the best way to train. Who is right? No matter which method is used some puppies can show obsessive behavior if their training is taken to the extreme. For example, some dogs will refuse to go out to relieve themselves unless they get a treat first. They can even mess on the floor in some cases if they don’t get one. For them their obsession is the treat. Either they get it first, or they won’t go out. How can puppy training provide a framework for understanding a human’s obsession in the role of addiction?
To translate obsession and addiction into a human scenario take food for example. When you eat your favorite dessert the pleasure center in your brain fires a neurotransmitter coupled with a dopamine release that is telling your body this is a good thing. Your brain is being trained to think that your favorite dessert equals pleasure. Vice versa, if you eat something disgusting, your brain will tell you not to do that again. These are natural chemical reactions that are a normal operating function of your body. You’ll know they are operating out of normal parameters when obsession kicks in.
When you obsess about your favorite dessert, drink, or drug your obsession is turning into an addiction by deepening the natural neural pathway. This pathway was created the first time your brain was rewarded with pleasure for engaging in said activity. Each time you re-engage in that activity, and are rewarded, the pathway deepens. When the pathway is rooted enough in your brain it can be difficult to think about pleasure without associating it with your dessert, drink, or drug of choice. The process of reward, obsession, and addiction is cyclical, and extremely dangerous if not dealt with quickly.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol, the time to act on getting help is now. Call Lakehouse Recovery Center for information on our residential detox, inpatient, and 12 month aftercare program today: 877.762.3707