Drug addiction, or substance use disorder, is a mental illness which affects the brain and a person's behavior. It leads to the inability to stop or control the use of a drug, medication, alcohol, or another "vice" (including gambling, sex, tobacco, etc.). When you are addicted to anything you may continue to use drugs or another vice despite the harm it may cause you.
Drug addiction usually begins with "recreational drugs" (drugs, which may be called "gateway drugs"). These drugs are usually tried with friends in social situations. Eventually the usage becomes frequent until a stronger drug is tried and then is again frequently taken. Some may begin drug addiction with prescribed medications or getting a medication from a friend, relative, or at a social gathering. Some drugs have a higher risk and may cause addiction more quickly.
Eventually, you need a larger dose of the drug or vice to get high. We often hear, "I just need it to feel good." As usage increases it becomes difficult to "function" without the drug. Stopping a drug may cause cravings which may be intense or you may experience withdrawals and become physically ill.
Addiction is a major problem in the US and we always recommend seeking medical attention (particularly an addiction psychiatrist trained in addiction treatment), positive support from family, friends, support groups, and/or organized treatment programs.
Symptoms of addiction may include (but are not limited to):
Addiction may be hard to distinguish in many people, especially teenagers who may be moody or just suffering from regular teenage anger, however indications may include:
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