Addiction is a complex disease that affects both your brain and your behavior. It causes an intense, often uncontrollable urge to use a drug and can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms if you don’t have access to it when you want it.
For example, someone with an addiction may be unable to resist using cocaine even though it interferes with their family life or work responsibilities.
Addiction is not the same thing as abuse or misuse of drugs or alcohol.
Abuse refers to using any substance in such a way that it harms someone else (such as driving under the influence).
Misuse means using drugs without directions from your doctor (such as abusing medicines by taking more than the prescribed amount).
Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite negative consequences (e.g., health problems, legal problems).
People who are addicted to drugs find it hard to stop using them even though they recognize that their drug use is causing or worsening medical and psychological problems for themselves or their families.
The main characteristic of addiction is that it develops when the brain changes in a way that makes it hard to stop using drugs.
When you take drugs, your brain reacts by releasing dopamine – a chemical that makes you feel good.
Scientists think repeated drug use will result in fewer dopamine receptors in your brain’s reward center and less sensitivity to pleasure from everyday activities like eating or sex.
This reduced sensitivity causes people who are addicted to have cravings for the substance they’re addicted to – even if they know it’s terrible for them!
Addiction can be described as a pathological relationship with a psychoactive substance or activity that interferes with an individual’s ability to meet their family, work, or school responsibilities.
This includes the inability to control one’s usage despite experiencing negative consequences due to drug use.
Addiction is not a moral failing but rather a medical problem associated with brain structure and function changes.
The biology of addiction involves neurochemical disturbances that affect behavior by altering how the brain operates; these include impaired decision-making and control over impulse
– all functions that are mediated by dopamine pathways in certain regions of the brain including those related to reward-related processing (ventral tegmental area), decision making (nucleus accumbens) and inhibitory control (frontal cortex).
In fact, if you look at the numbers on drug-related deaths, you’ll see that most deaths are caused by polydrug use—the use of more than one drug at a time.
Drug abuse is defined by using drugs in a way that’s harmful to your health and well-being, while drug misuse is defined as using drugs in a way that’s not intended (e.g., taking someone else’s medication).
One of the most important factors in determining your risk for alcohol or other drug addiction is genetics.
Your genes can influence whether you become addicted to drugs, and they also determine which drugs you’re likely to become addicted to.
In general, genetics account for about 40 percent to 60 percent of your risk for alcohol or other drug addiction, with environmental factors accounting for the rest.
You may be more susceptible to becoming addicted if a close family member has struggled with substance abuse.
If someone in your family has struggled with alcoholism or another form of substance abuse, you may have inherited some genes that make it harder for you than others to control your use of drugs
—and this puts you at higher risk for developing an addiction yourself.
People who are genetically predisposed to develop addictions may be more likely than others who don’t share those genes (or who do but only have one copy) to feel the effects of alcohol or drugs sooner and at lower doses;
it’s thought that these people may even need smaller amounts of a given substance before experiencing changes in their brain chemistry caused by intoxication that could lead them down what we call “the slippery slope” toward full-blown dependency.
People who inherit certain combinations of certain genes might also be more intensely affected by particular kinds of substances than those without these particular genetic profiles do when they consume them too frequently over time
—and this can make recovery difficult even if they manage not only not taking anything anymore but also don’t drink at all – which isn’t always easy!
The frontal lobe is the part of your brain responsible for decision-making, personality, and behavior control. It is also one of the last parts of your brain to develop fully.
During this process, neurons and connections are formed, which affect your ability to make decisions and control your emotions.
The frontal lobe is highly susceptible to drug use because it plays a crucial role in executive function as well as motor learning and memory.
Executive function refers to how well you can organize tasks or complete tasks despite distractions or other situations that may cause problems along the way (like an addiction).
When you are addicted to a drug, you cannot stop using it even though it interferes with your life.
Your brain has changed so that you feel the need for this substance because the drug is rewarding, but when you take it away and go without it for a while, you experience withdrawal symptoms.
This can also happen if a person only uses small amounts of drugs regularly over time. They may not realize that they are being affected by the drug until it is too late!
Drug addiction is a complex and chronic disease that affects the brain. It is not simply abuse or misuse of drugs that leads to addiction.
Many people who abuse or misuse drugs never develop an addiction, while others become addicted after only one use.
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