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What Is Drug Addiction?

All About Drug Addiction Drug addiction is a disease. Addicts seek out drugs and find that drug use is difficult or impossible to control, even though they know that the drug use can cause physical and mental harm. Over time, repeated drug use changes the brain. The addicted person has trouble with self-control and finds it hard to resist the intense urge to take more drugs. Drug addiction is also referred to as substance abuse disorder . Drugs affect the reward circuit in the brain. When they are used, the person feels euphoria caused by a chemical called dopamine that is naturally released by the body. The drugs cause the reward circuit to operate differently. Normally, the brain’s reward mechanism motivates a person toward healthy behaviors like eating nutritious food or spending time with friends. However, the surges of dopamine that come with drug use can reinforce pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors, causing the person to use drugs again and again. The brain adapts and reduces its ability to respond to the reward. You may have heard this referred to as drug tolerance . The person has to take more and more of the drug to achieve the same euphoria . Long-term drug use can cause significant brain changes in learning, decision-making, judgment, and memory.


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