Key Question #1
What is Addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug and Abuse, addiction is not just "a lot of drug use" but is a disease that affects an individual’s brain as well as their behavior and in some cases it can be chronic. Although initial drug and alcohol use might be voluntary, drug and alcohols of abuse have been shown to produce changes in the brain that in turn affect human behavior, and that once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individual’s ability to make decisions.1 Recent scientific research provides overwhelming evidence that not only do drugs and alcohol interfere with normal brain functioning, creating powerful feelings of pleasure, but they also have long-term effects on brain metabolism and activity. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol suffer from a compulsion to seek and use drugs, and many cannot quit by themselves. Quality treatment of an appropriate length, followed by a continuum of care, typically is necessary for the person to achieve recovery.2
1 NIDA InfoFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction, http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/understand.html