What Is a Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a disease. This disease affects both your brain function and your behavior. Drug addiction means you are unable to resist the desire to consume them regardless of how much damage that drugs are causing you.

Some have said that drug addiction is a choice and that you only need more willpower. They believe that quitting drugs and alcohol could be easily accomplished if you would only try harder. Nothing could be further from the truth. Drug and Alcohol addiction can be treated with the help of professionals. Nobody should do it alone.

Some of the most common and well-known drug addictions include heroin, methamphetamines, and even cocaine. But people also become addicted to common painkillers, sleeping pills, stimulants and alcohol.

For most people when you first take the drug you may even be prescribed it by your doctor for a valid reason. Over time you might feel you need to take more and more of your prescribed medication to deal with your issues. As you begin consuming more of a drug than was prescribed, these drugs can change the way in which your brain works. Over time this consumption can lead to drastic physical changes of the brain. These physical changes in the brain can lead to reduced inhibitions and increased depression.


What is the difference between drug addiction and drug abuse?


Drug abuse is most commonly the overuse of legally prescribed substances in ways that your doctor did not want you to use. This can include taking more than the regular dose of medications in addition to consuming someone else’s prescription medication. You might start to do this because you believe it is helping you with your situation. Taking more than your prescribed amount of medication might help you feel good and reduce the stress of your daily life in the short term. But over the long run this abuse of medication becomes an unhealthy habit which you are unable to stop.


A drug addiction is when you are unable to stop consuming a substance no matter how hard you try. You have a drug addiction when regardless of the financial harm or the emotional distress that it causes you cannot stop taking the drugs. This addiction can lead to severe relationship problems with your family, and not even that can bring you to stop consuming the substances. When consuming the drug becomes such a high priority for you that you spend almost every minute of every day thinking about how to get more of the drug so you can consume it, you have an addiction.


How does drug addiction affect your brain?


Researchers and doctors have studied the way drugs can affect your brain’s reward system. When you consume drugs your brain will release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical associated with feelings of intense pleasure. Over time your brain seeks to repeat this rush of dopamine so it can get that same good feeling again. This motivation to repeat those feelings of intense pleasure drives you to keep taking the drug again and again, chasing that same high.

Over time your brain gets used to that extra dose of dopamine that comes with taking the drug. This leads you to take larger and larger amounts of the drug, just so you can continue getting that same good feeling that you have before. Other things you previously did, like spending time with family and friends, does not provide you with the same happy feelings that they once did.

As you continue taking these drugs over long periods of time it changes the chemical systems of your brain that control judgment, memory, inhibitions, decision-making and your ability to learn.


Do some people have a genetic predisposition to addiction?


Researchers believe that your family genetic history can account for up to half of your probability of becoming addicted. If your parents or other family members are battling an addiction with drugs or alcohol, then chances are you are more susceptible to becoming addicted as well. Both men and women are about equally as likely to becoming addicted to drugs.

Since everybody’s brain and body is unique and different people will react differently to different kinds of drugs. Not everyone who consumes drugs will become addicted some people do not enjoy the way the drugs make them feel the first time they take it and will no longer take it for any reason. Others really enjoy the way a drug makes them feel the first time they take it, and this leads them to want to take it more and more. Drug addiction could happen to anyone at any age. Mental disorders like depression can also increase your risk of addiction. If you suffer from constant anxiety and depression are constantly worrying turning to drugs me seem like a way to reduce these negative feelings.


What are the signs of an addiction?


Some of the most common signs of a drug addiction include:


  • Trying to stop taking the drug makes you feel physically ill.
  • Most of your time is spent acquiring the drug or recovering from consuming the drug.
  • You withdrawal from spending time with your family and friends.
  • You always keep drugs with you and you spend money that should be going to other expenses on the drugs.
  • You continually take larger and larger amounts of the drug and your urge to use the drug every day is uncontrollable.


When should I seek help for my addiction?

If you are showing any of the signs of addiction and you feel that your drug use is causing you problems, you should talk to your doctor about ways to heal from your addiction. By working with professionals, you can find treatment for your addiction. Drug addiction treatment includes a combination of counseling and special medications to help you with your withdrawal symptoms. There are drug addiction and rehab facilities which cater to different needs. Finding a drug addiction rehab facility that can help you is only a phone call away.