Addictions, Habits, Brain Plasticity

Our brains are tremendously skilled at learning; forming new connections and pathways based on the behaviors and habits we engage in regularly.  These pathways once formed are often permanent.  That’s why the phrase “Once an addict, always an addict”, is an accurate description and why someone after years of abstinence from a substance or alcohol can immediately return to addictive patterns upon engaging in the behavior.  Younger brains appear to be especially vulnerable; we know that most who are addicted to nicotine started this habit in their teen years.  This  places in question our society’s current trend in legalizing “recreational” drugs such as marijuana.  This excellent article further describes the “Habit Making, Habit Breaking” cycle from a Christian perspective.