You Become Addicted

When you use drugs, you put yourself at risk of becoming addicted. Some people have a higher risk of drug addiction than others, but it’s hard to predict who will become addicted because there are many factors in play. Your biology, environment, and development all have a hand in determining your risk for addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has done extensive studies on how drugs impact the brain, and this is what the science tells us: Although people of any age can become addicted to drugs, the earlier drug use begins, the more likely it is to progress to more serious abuse.

The teen brain is undergoing many critical changes. Using drugs, alcohol, or nicotine can interfere with development and lead to long-term changes in the brain.

What is drug addiction?

Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that affects the brain and causes compulsive drug-seeking and use despite harmful consequences. Using drugs changes your brain’s structure and function. Addiction is a brain disease because drugs change the brain, they change its structure and how it works. And although the initial decision to take drugs may be voluntary, over time, the changes in your brain can weaken your self-control and ability to make sound decisions, while sending intense impulses to take drugs.

Can drug addiction be cured?

Although there is no cure for drug addiction, persons suffering with drug addiction can often recover through treatment provided by a licensed drug treatment facility under the supervision of a medical provider. But it’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight.. Similar to people with diabetes or heart disease, people in treatment for drug addiction have to modify or change their behavior, and often take medication as part of their treatment.

If you use illegal drugs or abuse substances such as inhalants, prescription drugs, or over the counter medications, you are at risk of becoming addicted. And if you’ve heard that marijuana is not addictive, think again. Research shows that each year more teens enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.

If you think you may be addicted to drugs, there are many treatment options available for young people—so get help right away.

How do you know if you have a problem with drugs?

One way to determine if you have a drug problem is to answer honestly some questions about your drug use. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Do you spend a lot of time thinking about using drugs?
  • Are you giving up things you used to love because of drugs?
  • Has your drug use caused problems between you and your friends and family?
  • Have you gotten in trouble at school or at work because of your drug use?

Remember that these questions are just a few of the things you should consider. If you think you may have a problem with drugs, talk to school counselor, doctor or an alcohol and drug counselor, who can help you figure out if you have a substance abuse disorder or if you are addicted and how to get treatment.