Understanding Addiction is Necessary for Recovery
Drug addiction and Alcohol addiction are complex illnesses and characterized by intense, and at times, uncontrollable drug and alcohol craving, along with compulsive drug and alcohol seeking and use, even in the face of devastating consequences. Loss of family, lifestyle, friendship, home, school and physical safety can all take a back seat to the power of the disease of addiction. While the path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs, over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised, and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive. The same can be said for alcoholism. This behavior results largely from the effects of prolonged substance exposure on brain functioning. Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and the inability to control behavior. Although some people are able to use alcohol or prescription medication responsibly, others are more vulnerable to dependence.