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Drugs & Health Blog

Word of the Day: Addiction

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Addiction is defined as, “A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use—despite serious, even devastating consequences—and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain.” When a person is addicted to a drug, finding and using that drug becomes the most important thing—more important than family, friends, school, sports, or money.

Not everyone will become addicted after they smoke a cigarette, drink alcohol, or take another drug, but even experimenting can raise your risk for addiction.

Have you heard about all these celebrities going in and out of rehab? That’s because addiction is a chronic (long-term) disease—like heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes—that can be managed with treatment. And even though a person may beat their addiction with treatment, they're always at risk of relapse.

If you think you or a friend may be addicted to a substance, talk to a family member, medical professional, or other trusted adult to get help. You can also check out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Treatment Facility Locator for treatment services near you.

To learn more about addiction, check out NIDA’s publication, Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Just a correction:
"Addiction" isn't even a term commonly used in textbooks anymore, it's referred to as physiological and psychological dependence. The definition of being "addicted" differs depending on who you ask, regardless of eduction levels, but "dependence" has been defined by the DSM-IV and is widely accepted by professionals.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services is a great site and reference list for find an appropriate treatment center. When looking for a treatment center for a teen it is important to ask about length of stay. Longterm rehab most commonly yields results for teens and young adults. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

Well said. Addiction is a chronic urge that keeps you reminding.

In my own understanding, Addiction is the condition of taking harmful drugs and being unable to stop taking them. And it is something that has a very strong desire or need for it. Thanks for sharing this article!

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Addiction: Generally refers to the psychological attachment to a drug(s); addiction to "harder" drugs such as heroin results in both psychological and physical attachment to the chemical properties of the drug, with the resulting satisfaction(reward) derived from using the drug in question.
resource:Drugs and Society tenth ed.

The word addiction can mean a variety of things, but to me, it means you are enslaved to something or you need it chronic. You feel attached to the drug or what ever you are addicted to and you feel that with out it you are lost. You can cure addiction by getting help, but before you do that, you need to tell somebody about your addiction. There are many people out there that have drug addictions but feel like they cant tell anyone because no one will understand them.

Addiction of anything spcially drugs is very harmful thats why i allways suggest to everyone not to be addicted in harmful things.thanks

“For many of us, the revelation of mistakes and shortcomings comes in that quiet time of meditation. Taking time to reflect upon the day and thank my God for another 24 hours of sobriety gives opportunity for honesty with myself. Only by candidly examining my own actions am I doing my part to keep the ‘me’ in harmony with others.”
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my parents are addicted to alcohol and will never stop I cant even live with them so it is real but you learn how to people who are addicted.
Its so scary that people become addicted to dangerous things ;(....
Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities.
I dont take drugs and never did i taste one.....i wonder how it taste like?? thats my question...