Addiction is a compulsion to use substances or engage in behaviors despite adverse consequences. 

  • Addiction is characterized by repeated failures to control use, increased tolerance, and increased disruption in the family.
  • Addiction can effect a person’s self-control and ability to make sound decisions, and at the same time send intense impulses to take drugs.
  • For one in ten people, abuse leads to addiction.

Addiction is chronic, progressive, primary, terminal, and characterized by denial.

Addiction is a brain disorder.

  • Addiction is not simply a behavior problem involving alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex, and not solely related to problematic substance abuse.
  • Addiction creates distortions in thinking, feelings, and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable.
  • Addiction alters the brain’s reward circuitry that governs impulse control and judgment resulting in the nonsensical pursuit of “rewards“.
  • Addiction is a chronic disease. It must be treated, managed, and monitored over a person’s lifetime.
  • Source: American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)  / Journal of the American Medical Association

Addiction by the Numbers

  • 2 in 3 people who use heroin started by using prescription painkillers.
  • Each day more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for opioid misuse.
  • Every day, 2,000 teenagers misuse prescription drugs for the first time.
  • Out of 16.6 million people with alcoholism, 2.6 million were also dependent on an illicit substance.
  • More people receive treatment for alcohol than any other substance.
  • Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used for the first time. Approximately 7,000 people try marijuana for the first time every day.