What is Addiction?


what-is-addictionWhen a person both physically and mentally cannot control cravings for drugs or alcohol, this may be a sign of addiction. Addiction is a complex illness characterized by prolonged substance abuse and overall dependence. A drug or alcohol dependence occurs when the urge to use is too strong to control, despite having an awareness of the negative consequences associated with use. Once a dependence has formed, it is extremely difficult to break and will likely require the assistance of addiction professionals in order to overcome.

No one plans on becoming an addict when they begin to engage in substance abuse. People like how a certain drug or drugs makes them feel, and they will continue chasing these temporary euphoric feelings.  However, drug and/or alcohol abuse has the ability to change one’s brain chemistry. An addict’s brain becomes so accustomed to drug use that its functions are altered. Pleasure inducing chemicals that were once naturally produced in the brain are replaced by a temporary high. The individual will become reliant on drugs simply to function at a ‘normal’ level because they are unable to experience feelings of pleasure without the aid of substance abuse. When a person becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol to function, this is known as an addiction.

An addiction can quickly overtake a person’s life. Substance abuse becomes more important than socializing, working, eating, or even sleeping. The person’s life becomes a constant search for their next fix. Someone who is suffering from a moderate to severe drug or alcohol dependence will do almost anything in order to get their hands on their substance of choice. This may include lying, stealing, and harming others. These compulsive behaviors often lead to incarceration and overall estrangement from family, friends, and what was once their normal day to day life.

Addiction is a serious brain disease, and just as other serious diseases require professional assistance and support, it does too. It affects people of all ages and from all walks of life, but it is never too late to seek professional help. Do not let your substance dependence define you for one more day, seek help now.

Learn more about the types of addictions treated in our certified, state-of-the-art treatment centers:

Alcohol Addiction

Illicit Drug Addiction

Prescription Drug Addiction

Synthetic Drug Addiction


  1. Abuse, N. I. (n.d.). Drug Abuse and Addiction. Retrieved August 30, 2016, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-abuse-addiction
  2. Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health [PDF]. (2015, September). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Last updated on April 7th, 2017 at 09:36 pm

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