When people who use drugs can’t stop taking a drug even if they want to, it’s called addiction. The urge is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm. When people start taking drugs, they don’t plan to get addicted. They like how the drug makes them feel. They believe they can control how much and how often they take the drug. However, drugs change the brain. Those who use drugs start to need the drug just to feel normal. That is addiction, and it can quickly take over a person’s life.
Addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug can fill every moment of a person’s life. The addiction replaces all the things the person used to enjoy. A person who is addicted might do almost anything—lying, stealing, or hurting people—to keep taking the drug. This could get the person arrested.
Addiction is a brain disease.
- Drugs change how the brain works.
- These brain changes can last for a long time.
- They can cause problems like mood swings, memory loss, even trouble thinking and making decisions.
Addiction is a disease, just as diabetes and cancer are diseases. Addiction is not simply a weakness. People from all backgrounds, rich or poor, can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.
Do You or a Loved One Have a Drug Use Problem?
Here are some questions to ask yourself or someone you know. If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, you might have an addiction.
- Do you think a lot about drugs?
- Did you ever try to stop or cut down on your drug use but couldn’t?
- Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without drugs?
- Do you ever use drugs because you are upset or angry at other people?
- Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
- Have you ever taken one drug to get over the effects of another?
- Have you ever made mistakes at a job or at school because you were using drugs?
- Does the thought of running out of drugs really scare you?
- Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen stuff to pay for drugs?
- Have you ever been arrested or in the hospital because of your drug use?
- Have you ever overdosed on drugs?
- Has using drugs hurt your relationships with other people?
Signs of Drug Use and Addiction
People with drug problems might act differently than they used to. They might:
- spend a lot of time alone
- lose interest in their favorite things
- get messy—for instance, not bathe, change clothes, or brush their teeth
- be really tired and sad
- be very energetic, talk fast, or say things that don’t make sense
- be nervous or cranky (in a bad mood)
- quickly change between feeling bad and feeling good
- sleep at strange hours
- miss important appointments
- have problems at work
- eat a lot more or a lot less than usual
People with an addiction usually can’t stop taking the drug on their own. They want and need more. They might try to stop taking the drug and then feel really sick. Then they take the drug again to stop feeling sick. They keep using the drug even though it’s causing terrible family, health, or legal problems. They need help to stop using drugs. Treatment can help. Call us today.