Addiction, whether it be alcoholism, a sex addiction or a drug addiction, is difficult to define but fairly easy to identify. Addiction leaves a person powerless to the desire to use. Addiction is a disease without a cure. It can ruin lives of both the addict and those around him. When it comes to battling addiction, the toughest part is the first step – admitting there is a problem.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is the “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences." It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Failure to fulfill major role obligations
  • Legal problems
  • Use in situations that are physically hazardous
  • Continued use despite persistent social or interpersonal problems
  • Drug taking in larger amounts than intended
  • Inability to cut down on drug use
  • Spending a large amount of time trying to obtain a drug
  • Continuing the use of a drug despite the knowledge of health or social problems caused by the drug

Who is at Risk?

Anyone is susceptible to addiction, but according to the Mayo Clinic there are several factors that can make some people more likely to become addicts:

  • Family history of addiction
  • Being male (men are twice as likely to have problems with drugs)
  • Having existing mental health issues
  • People experiencing peer pressure
  • Children and teens with a lack of parental supervision


Addiction is a chronic disease and can be managed successfully. Research shows that combining behavioral therapy with medications, where available, is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches must be tailored to address each patient’s drug abuse patterns and drug-related medical, psychiatric and social problems.

For more information or an assessment please call (434) 477-5000.