Drug Addiction & Disease

A drug addict often evokes different reactions in people. These emotions include anger, disappointment, embarrassment and the need to isolate oneself from the addict. People wonder why the addict simply cannot stop using drugs. Drug addiction is more than a state; it is a disease that is not easy to overcome.

  1. Brain Disease

    • Drug abuse causes changes to the brain's form and function. The abuse of drugs often leads to drug addiction---the user becomes physically and/or psychologically dependent on the drug. Drug addiction is a severe brain disease that causes the user to engage in compulsive drug use, regardless of the consequences to herself and those around her.

    How It Works

    • Drugs travel into the brain's communication system and interfere with its process of sending, receiving and processing information. It does this by either over-stimulating the brain's pleasure center or by mimicking the natural chemical messengers in the brain.

    Relapsing Disease

    • Drug addiction is a severe disease that often results in relapses. As with chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes, drug addiction can be successfully managed with proper treatment.

    Risk Factors

    • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there is no single way to determine if an individual will develop drug addiction. However, an individual's genes (drug addiction family history), her environment and her developmental stage are critical factors.

    Preventable Disease

    • Drug addiction is a disease that can be prevented. Prevention programs that include families, communities, schools and the media can help to lower the drug addiction rate.

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