Relative to non-substance addictions, explain the following statement: “If ‘it’ provides relief, ‘it’ can and will be abused.”

Anything that provides relief, whether it’s a substance or activity, can and will be abused. This is because anything that provides relief affects the brain reward pathway. What happens with these substances or activities that make us feel relief is that dopamine is released in the brain. When we receive a flattering compliment, have sexual intercourse, or eat a yummy meal, dopamine is released in the brain. Any activities or substances that provide relief or give us a sense of well being are associated with feeling good, and the brain is going to chase that good feeling. Anytime a person feels sideways, he wants relief. Anytime a person feels stressed out or overwhelmed, he wants relief. Anytime a person feels normal, he might want that feeling of relief. People always want to feel better than their current state. Because people are always chasing that feeling, any substance or activity that provides relief is going to be abused. As the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

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