Drug Misuse and Addiction National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA

The causes and effects of drug addiction encompass both the reasons why one starts using drugs and what happens once they have become addicted. Drug addiction is not a matter of moral weakness or faulty willpower. It is a vicious cycle that actually causes changes in the brain, leading to stronger and stronger impulses to use. Without help, the effects of drug addiction can destroy families and take lives. Recognizing the difference between an addiction and substance dependence can help to better understand the nature of addiction. Knowing as much as possible about addiction and dependence can also be a valuable tool in achieving recovery.

They can organise specialist help and places to go to get you back on track. Various services are run by local councils, state government health departments, and non-government organisations. Withdrawal from different categories of drugs — such as depressants, stimulants or opioids — produces different side effects and requires different approaches.

Medical Definition

Both substance use disorders and gambling behaviors have an increased likelihood of being accompanied by mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, or other pre-existing problems. Substance use and gambling disorders not only engage the same brain mechanisms, they respond to many of the same treatment approaches. Stress is a risk factor for many kinds of nonadaptive behavior, and addiction is one. Researchers have long linked the effects of chronic stress to alcohol use. Stress relief may enhance the pleasurable effect of any substance. There is some research to support the view that adverse events in childhood and in adulthood change the responsiveness of brain systems.

  • There’s not a single cause of addiction — it’s a very complex condition.
  • It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
  • Nevertheless, there is no single gene for addiction nor even a group of genes.

Despite the name, these are not bath products such as Epsom salts. Substituted cathinones can be eaten, snorted, inhaled or injected and are highly addictive. These drugs can cause severe intoxication, which results in dangerous health effects or even death. People use cannabis by smoking, eating or inhaling a vaporized form of the drug. Cannabis often precedes or is used along with other substances, such as alcohol or illegal drugs, and is often the first drug tried. Marijuana and alcohol are psychoactive substances that affect the brain and body very differently.

Potential vaccines for addiction to substances

Heavy drug has a direct cause and effect on health including lung disease, arthritis, heart problems, brain damage, and potential death from overdose. Productivity at work often suffers, and eventually trouble keeping a job or even homelessness can occur. The urge to use is so powerful that criminal activity for money or more drugs can be a strong temptation for addicts. Hailey Shafir is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Licensed https://ecosoberhouse.com/ Clinical Addiction Specialist, and Certified Clinical Supervisor with extensive experience in counseling people with mental health and addictive disorders. As the medical and scientific discussion on these terms has progressed in recent years, both are now considered as part of a larger grouping; that of substance use disorder. When the symptoms of mental and physical dependence are apparent, an addiction is usually present.

  • Many people fear the term addiction and believe it is an indication of failure or worthlessness.
  • Substance misuse does not always lead to addiction, while addiction involves the regular misuse of substances or engagements in harmful behavior.
  • Finally, the arts can be used to advocate for those suffering from a substance use disorder by raising awareness of the issue and promoting understanding and compassion.
  • Behavioral scientists continue to study the similarities and differences between substance addictions, behavioral addictions and other compulsive behavior conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and bulimia nervosa.

But increasingly in recent years, that view has flip-flopped a bit. Some studies show that genes can account for as much as 50 percent of a person’s risk for addiction, although the degree of genetic influence shifts in importance over time. For example, environmental factors such as family and social relationships are more strongly tied to use of alcohol and nicotine in adolescence than later in life.

Genetic factors

The public’s perception that marijuana is entirely harmless is unwarranted. Your provider may want to do a physical exam and may request blood and urine tests. These tests give your provider information about your overall health. Over time, addiction vs dependence the substances or activities change your brain chemistry, and you become desensitized to their effects. This can create an unhealthy drive to seek more pleasure from the substance or activity and less from healthier activities.