Most Americans who have a substance abuse disorder don’t get the help that they need. This may be due in part to the fact that people aren’t sure what the addiction definition is. Perhaps they believe that they have control over their substance abuse or are just using drugs recreationally. Whether or not you have a full-fledged addiction, you may benefit from attending a rehab center.
The Addiction Definition
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a disease. It involves a dysfunction in the reward, memory and motivation centers of the brain.
Humans are hardwired to repeat rewarding behaviors. For example, eating, exercising and socializing increase levels of certain chemicals in the brain that we associate with pleasure. People who have addictions seek out rewards or relief by compulsively abusing substances.
Addiction involves difficulty abstaining from using substances that are detrimental to your health. People with an addiction may have trouble controlling their behavior. They continue to use drugs even when the drugs begin negatively affecting their lives.
Who Is Prone To Addiction?
According to the addiction definition, anyone can develop a substance abuse disorder. Genetics and environmental factors influence genetics. Contrary to what some people think, addiction is not a result of lack of willpower. It’s a complex disease that is characterized by brain changes.
The altered brain circuitry can drive someone to obsessively abuse substances. Those chemicals further alter the brain to keep you on the addictive path.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that your genes are responsible for approximately 50% of your addiction risk. The existence of other mental disorders can further increase your risk of abusing drugs.
Some environmental factors that contribute to a higher risk of addiction include abuse, peer pressure, lack of parental guidance and early exposure to drugs. Early drug use is especially risky. Human brains don’t fully develop until people are in their mid-20s. Teenagers are still learning how to make decisions and exert self-control. Because drugs interfere with these areas, young people who use drugs have an increased risk of developing an addiction.
Signs Of Addiction
Denial can prevent many people who struggle with addiction from coming clean. Sometimes, it’s up to friends or loved ones to have many honest conversations about the need for a professional intervention.
The addiction definition states that some signs of addiction include:
- Difficulty stopping or reducing drug use even when you want to
- Time lost from work or social functions because of substance use
- Continued engagement in addictive behaviors despite adverse consequences
- Preoccupation with using drugs
- Increased emotional distress
- Heightened sensitivity to stress
Not everyone who abuses drugs develops an addiction. However, professional help is available for anyone who feels like their substance use is interfering with their well-being.
At Melrose Recovery Group, we help people experience life to the fullest without relying on drugs to regulate their emotions. We use evidence-based, hands-on approaches to addiction therapy, such as:
If you’re questioning whether your situation fits the addiction definition, you might benefit from attending a reputable rehabilitation center. Call us at 866-271-3438 to find out how our programs can fit your needs.