Drug addiction is a complex and chronic brain disease. People who have a drug addiction experience compulsive, sometimes uncontrollable, craving for their drug of choice. Typically, they will continue to seek and use drugs in spite of experiencing extremely negative consequences as a result of using.
Characteristics of Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by:
- Compulsive drug-seeking
- Continued use despite harmful consequences
- Long-lasting changes in the brain
NIDA also notes that addiction is both a mental illness and a complex brain disorder. Diagnosing addiction requires an assessment by a trained and certified professional. Talk to a doctor or mental health professional if you feel that you may have an addiction or substance abuse problem.