Addicts of all types typically experience an increasing tolerance to the mood-altering effects of their addictive substance or behavior of choice. (Basically, the brain adjusts to excessive dopamine levels caused by continued use of an addictive substance or behavior by producing less dopamine and/or reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the brain.) As a result, addicts must, over time, use more of the addictive substance/behavior or a more intense substance/behavior to achieve and maintain the desired neurochemical high. That is why addictions (and their consequences) escalate over time.
Task for Today
Think about the ways in which your addiction has escalated over time. Were you aware of this as it happened, or did you only notice this in retrospect?