NIDA NIH.GOV National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA



And still others opt for clinical-based recovery through the services of credentialed professionals. Because addiction affects the brain’s executive functions, centered in the prefrontal cortex, individuals who develop an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is causing problems for themselves and others. Over time, pursuit of the pleasurable effects of the substance or behavior may dominate an individual’s activities.

drug addiction

Different types of substance use disorders can have a wide range of symptoms. However, some common characteristics include personality or attitude changes; sudden weight gain or loss; exhibiting anger, irritability, hyperactivity, agitation, or emotional outbursts; and more. Treatment may involve an inpatient or outpatient program depending on each person’s situation. Although there’s no cure for what is drug addiction, treatment options can help you overcome an addiction and stay drug-free. Your treatment depends on the drug used and any related medical or mental health disorders you may have.

Inpatient Treatment

More than 104,000 Americans died due to a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in September 2021. We grieve these losses, and commit to continuing our work to save lives. Join us on January 29 for the largest annual national gathering dedicated to advancing the prevention of substance use and misuse. We’ll celebrate the 20th anniversary of SAMHSA’s 20th Prevention Day (SPD), explore current innovations, reflect on past accomplishments, and chart a course for the future of prevention.

  • Talking can be very helpful in pinpointing the source of the craving.
  • In the United States, excessive behavior patterns—involving smartphone use, Internet gambling, gaming, pornography, even eating and shopping—are being studied as possible behavioral addiction.
  • Some people experiment with recreational drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, because friends are doing it, or to ease problems such as stress, anxiety, or depression.
  • Also among the warning signs is a tendency for those experiencing problems to deny or get highly defensive about observed changes in behavior.
  • Others may need admission to a hospital or a residential treatment center.

Drug overdoses in this age group are generally caused when someone accidentally leaves a medication within the child’s reach. Toddlers, when they find medications, often share them with other children. Therefore, if you suspect an overdose in one child while other children are around, those other children may have taken the medication, too. Illicit drugs, used to get high, may be taken in overdose amounts when a person’s metabolism cannot detoxify the drug fast enough to avoid unintended side effects. But if you’ve misused drugs or alcohol in the past or have family members who have, you may be at a higher risk.

Myths and facts about drug abuse and addiction

Being the most common and costly intoxication, it is essential to review the toxicokinetics of alcohol intoxication. Ethanol is metabolized initially to acetaldehyde, which gets further metabolized in mitochondria to acetate via acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. While acetate enters the peripheral circulation for utilization in various reactions as the key intermediate acetyl CoA, acetaldehyde forms in addicts, causing injury by activating immune processes.

Also, significant variations are based on the stage of addiction and addictive substances. Triggers can be any person, place, or thing that sparks the craving for using. Common triggers include places you’ve done drugs, friends you’ve used with, and anything else that brings up memories of your drug use. Follow-up care or continuing care is also recommended, which includes ongoing community- or family-based recovery support systems. Over 20 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder in 2018. If you or someone you care about may have an addiction, talk to your provider right away.

Tips to Cope With Stress

If you’re currently taking a prescription drug and are concerned you may be developing a dependence, talk to your healthcare provider immediately. As people with SUD often have co-occurring mental health conditions, treating them together rather than separately is generally better. SUDs and other mental health conditions are caused by overlapping factors such as genetic vulnerabilities, issues with similar areas of your brain and environmental influences. Mental health condition classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), have become more sophisticated over time. The term “substance use disorder” allows for more clarity in diagnosis. SUD also recognizes a spectrum of problematic substance use, not just physiologic addiction.

They can be used to help control drug cravings, relieve symptoms of withdrawal, and to help prevent relapses. As with most other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, treatment for drug addiction generally isn’t a cure. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients. Treatment approaches tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery.