Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.
What are drugs?
Drugs are chemical substances that can change how your body and mind work.
What is drug use?
Drug use, or misuse, includes:
- Using illegal substances, such as
- Anabolic steroids
- Club drugs
- Misusing prescription medicines, including opioids. This means taking the medicines in a different way than the health care provider prescribed. This includes
- Taking a medicine that was prescribed for someone else
- Taking a larger dose than you are supposed to
- Using the medicine in a different way than you are supposed to. For example, instead of swallowing your tablets, you might crush and then snort or inject them.
- Using the medicine for another purpose, such as getting high
- Misusing over-the-counter medicines, including using them for another purpose and using them in a different way than you are supposed to
Drug use is dangerous. It can harm your brain and body, sometimes permanently. It can hurt the people around you, including friends, families, kids, and unborn babies.
What is drug addiction?
It is (also known as substance use disorder) can be defined as a progressive disease that causes people to lose control of the use of any substance despite the worsening consequences of that use. Substance use disorder can be life-threatening.
Addictions are not problems of willpower or morality. Addiction is a powerful and complex disease. People who have an addiction to drugs cannot simply quit, even if they want to. The drugs change the brain in a way that makes quitting physically and mentally difficult. Treating addiction often requires lifelong care and therapy.
What are the signs that someone has a drug problem?
Signs that someone has a drug problem include:
- Changing friends a lot
- Spending a lot of time alone
- Losing interest in favorite things
- Not taking care of themselves
- Being really tired and sad
- Eating more or eating less than usual
- Being very energetic, talking fast, or saying things that don’t make sense
- Being in a bad mood
- Quickly changing between feeling bad and feeling good
- Sleeping at strange hours
- Missing important appointments
- Having problems at work or at school
- Having problems in personal or family relationships
Who is at risk for drug addiction?
Anyone can develop a substance use disorder. No one thing can predict whether a person may develop an addiction. You may be more prone to drug use due to:
- Biology: The person’s genetic makeup, gender, ethnicity, and mental health issues may raise his or her risk for developing an addiction. About two-thirds of people in addiction treatment are men. Particular ethnicities are at higher risk for substance use disorder. This is true for Native Americans.
- Environment: Surroundings can affect the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. For example, stress, peer pressure, physical or sexual abuse, and early exposure to drugs can raise the risk.
- Age: Teenagers who start taking drugs are especially at risk. The parts of the brain that control judgment, decisions, and self-control are not fully developed. Teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. In a developing brain, drugs can cause changes that make addiction more likely.
Can drug use and addiction be prevented?
Drug use and addiction are preventable. Prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media may prevent or reduce drug use and addiction. These programs include education and outreach to help people understand the risks of drug use.
Medicinal advances and progress in diagnosis have helped the medical community develop various ways to manage and resolve additional trusted Sources.
Some methods include:
- medication-based treatment
- behavioral therapy and counseling
- medical devices to treat withdrawal
- treating related psychological factors, such as depression
- ongoing care to reduce the risk of relapse
Addiction treatment is highly personalized and often requires the support of the individual’s community or family.
Treatment can take a long time and maybe complicated. Addiction is a chronic condition with a range of psychological and physical effects. Each substance or behavior may require different management techniques.