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What is Addiction?

Addiction is a complex disease, often chronic in nature, which affects the functioning of the brain and body. It can and usually does cause damage to families, relationships, careers, and finances.  


The most common symptoms of addiction are severe loss of control, continued use despite serious consequences, preoccupation with using, failed attempts to quit, tolerance and withdrawal. Addiction can be effectively prevented, treated and managed by healthcare professionals in combination with family or peer support.

Self-Awareness and Substance Use

When it comes to Substance Use Disorders, it can be very difficult to be open and objective in determining whether or not you have a problem. Are you asking yourself, “Do I have a problem with drinking or drug use?” Have others expressed concern? Has your behavior changed negatively due to alcohol or drug use? If this is the case, it is usually a good indicator that there could be a problem.


Addiction is a Progressive Disease

Many people decide to ignore the signs and avoid treatment because they haven’t hit rock bottom, or they think their problem isn’t bad enough. Simply put, your addiction can and will likely get worse if not treated. If you’re in the early stages right now, it will likely progress to moderate-severe in the future. You don’t have to be at rock bottom to need treatment. Get help before it gets out of hand. If you are at rock bottom or have a severe diagnosis, it’s never too late to get the help you need.


​The High Functioning User - Living a Double life

If you keep up with your job, fulfill your family duties and maintain friendships yet have issues and problems related to drug or alcohol use, you’re known as a high-functioning user. These types of users maintain a level of success professionally and battle their issues behind the scenes. Essentially, you’re living a double life. One of the biggest hurtles high-functioning users face is denial. You feel like you’re in control because your life remains normal by all appearances. However, your use is likely worse than you know. Eventually, many of the things that you maintain may start to slip away.


The Disease Model of Addiction

Addiction is defined as a disease by most medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.  


Like diabetes, cancer and heart disease, addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental and biological factors. Genetic risks factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop an issue with substance use.  


Addiction involves changes in the functioning of the brain and body. These changes may be brought on by risky substance use or may pre-exist.   


The consequences of untreated Substance Abuse often include other physical and mental health disorders that require medical attention. If left untreated over time, addiction becomes more severe, disabling and life threatening