Understanding Addiction

What is addiction and why do scientists believe it is a treatable disease?

blankAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, when a person can’t stop taking a drug or drinking alcohol even if he/she wants to, it’s called addiction. The urge is too strong to control, even if he/she know the drug is causing harm.

When people start using drugs or drinking alcohol, they don’t plan to get addicted. They like how the drug/alcohol makes them feel. They believe they can control how much and how often they take the drug or drink. However, drugs/alcohol change the brain. People start to need the drug/alcohol just to feel normal. That is addiction, and it can quickly take over a person’s life.

Drugs/alcohol can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug or to drink can fill every moment of a person’s life. The addiction may replace all the things the person used to enjoy. A person who is addicted might do almost anything—even lying, stealing, or hurting people—to keep taking the drug or drinking alcohol.

Addiction is a brain disease.

  • Drugs change how the brain works.
  • These brain changes can last for a long time.
  • They can cause problems like mood swings, memory loss, even trouble thinking and making decisions.

Addiction is a disease, just as diabetes and cancer are diseases.

Addiction is not simply a weakness. People from all backgrounds, rich or poor, can develop an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age.

We can help you manage your addiction…through medication based treatment and counseling. There is hope…and we’re here to help.