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Why Are Addicts So Immature?


A common concept for addicts is that we stop maturing when we start using. This could be true for a few reasons that are social and biological. Drugs impair brain function which can lead to the addict not developing mentally because their brain process is hindered. The lifestyle of an addict can also lead to them to not mature as they are not fully rooted in reality and are often unmotivated to better themselves or to be productive.

Since there is factual proof of drugs hindering brain function that is the most obvious reason as to why we do not mature mentally. One of the most important brain functions in relation to ones level of maturity is decision making. Decision making is the biggest factor that is impaired by drug use that would lead to a halt in the maturing process. There are two parts of the frontal lobe of the brain that regulate neural activity in the decision making process. They are the orbitofrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. The orbitofrontal cortex controls the neural activity relating the gravity of the decision from important ones to trivial ones. With this impaired, all decisions are made with the same resolution. In turn, addicts make their decisions like this, from life choices to which flavor of ice cream they want. The anterior cingulate cortex learns from outcomes of previous decisions, allowing you to learn from them. This is probably the most important biological factor in the lack of growth in maturity. Addicts literally have problems learning from their decisions and actions, so they can never record previous knowledge to help them with future decisions.

An addict’s lifestyle also slows their maturing process. Most addicts do not face reality because they are constantly in a false state of mind and are numb to reality. Something that would concern a normal person would not affect an addict because of the drugs they are on. They basically escape reality with their use which leads to not dealing with real issues in their life, which attributes to lack of maturity because they do not develop the skills to handle these situations and problems.

Another reason may be that many addicts are only motivated to stay high and only develop skills to achieve this goal. Their goals in life are set aside and acquiring their substances takes priority. The skills they develop are usually only useful for practicing addicts. They are not motivated to gain skills or education or to even be productive in their lives. Bettering yourself is part of maturing, even if it means getting better at something you enjoy doing like playing sports or other recreational activities. Many addicts will set the things they enjoy aside for drug use and it becomes their life. Eventually and especially if use starts young, it is all an addict will come to know and start to feel they can’t do anything else.

These are some of the reasons we addicts stop maturing in certain areas. There are many other reasons for why we mentally stop progressing but I found these most relevant to my personal experience.


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I grew up in northern New Jersey and came to California when I was 18. I am currently in recovery and reside at a sober living. Since I started my recovery process I have matured drastically and have a new outlook on my life and it is because of the staff in the program I am going through. Today I am grateful to my family who has supported me since I decided to go into recovery, and all those who have helped and continue to help me in this process.

Filed under: Latest News · Tags: Alcohol Abuse, Alcohol Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Drug Abuse, drug addiction, drug rehab

  • Jones William

    I personally believe that you have done an outstanding work by posting such a wonderful article. It has been seen that the immaturity stage is summed up as someone that stays stuck in the adolescent phase. The information you have provided in would surely help most of the people who will read this

  • A Dad

    This is so true. My daughter is going thru withdrawls and cannot focus or learn from her decisions

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