Addiction is a disease that can impact anyone, whether you are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, young or old. Addiction is powerful enough to overtake your life if you allow it to. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is classified as a chronic brain disease that can result in relapse. This disease is characterized by compulsive drug use and drug seeking behaviors. Individuals who continue to abuse substances in spite of knowing the harmful consequences associated with using the drug are labeled as addicts. Although many people start out taking drugs voluntarily, continued use can result in involuntarily developing an addiction. Drugs have the ability to hijack the brain and cause brain changes that will start to change you as a person. Once a tolerance for a drug is developed, trying to achieve the same high by using more and more of the drug often leads to experiencing less pleasure from other activities which were once enjoyable to a person.
Most drugs are capable of affecting the reward circuit in the brain by flooding the brain with dopamine. When the brain's reward circuit is overstimulated it produces a "high" that often leads people to use the drug over and over again. Over time, the brain starts to become accustomed to the excess levels of dopamine. Therefore, addiction has been labeled as a brain disease due to the changes that drugs cause within the brain. Drugs have the ability to change the structure of your brain, in addition to manner in which your brain functions. The changes which drugs cause in the brain can become long term and often lead to developing harmful and self destructive behaviors.
Symptoms of addiction tend to vary from person to person, however many individuals will show some more common symptoms. Common symptoms of addiction include the following:
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