What is addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Many people fail to understand that addiction is actually a disease, not just a lack of will power. Learn more about addiction…
How can I tell if I am addicted?
If you think you might have a problem with drug and alcohol addiction, you probably do. Many addicts feel like they really want to stop but feel powerless to do so. If your drug use is compulsive in the face of clear negative consequences, you may be addicted. There are also many warning signs for drug addiction:
- Increased tolerance of drug so that you need more and more of the drug to achieve the same feeling
- Broken relationships or increased fighting with friends and family members, often marked by increased aggression or erratic emotions
- You make frequent resolutions to stop using the drug only to return to it again and again
- Loss of interest of focus on work, school, or anything else that does not relate to drug use
- You use the drug to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms
- Legal trouble related to drug use
- You engage in dangerous or illegal behavior such as drinking and driving or dangerous stunts
- You continue using drugs despite clear and compelling negative consequences
Is there a cure for addiction?
While there is no cure for addiction, there is control and hope for sobriety. Treatment in a recovery program like Serenity House can give you the tools you need to manage the disease and overcome its negative consequences. Learn more about our treatment program…
If I have enough will power, can I overcome addiction on my own?
Will power plays an important role in the treatment process, and a great deal of will power will be required in the initial stages of treatment. However, will power on its own is not normally enough to overcome an addiction. Many people who have gone through our treatment program report feeling like they have a new set of tools without which they could never have overcome their addiction.
Does addiction run in the family? Is it genetic?
According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, Scientists estimate that approximately 40-60 percent of a person’s risk for addiction is due to genetic factors, including the way that environment affects gene expression and function. Beyond the biological factors, the risk of addiction is greatly increased for children raised in a home with prevalent drug abuse. Those with parents who are alcoholics or drug addicts are at a considerably higher risk for addiction.
How long does it take for an addiction to form?
This largely depends on a person’s age, the drug being used, the method of administration, and the presence of protective factors at the time of drug use. Early use generally puts a person at higher risk to become addicted. Smoking or injecting drugs leads to higher highs and lower lows; scientists believe this contrast contributes to a higher rate of addiction when drugs are administered in this way. Some drugs are also naturally more potent than others. While alcoholism generally takes longer to develop, some users are known to become addicted to crack cocaine and other powerful stimulants after the first use. It is more difficult for addiction to develop in someone with strong protective factors such as a strong support network, a high level of education and social/political access, and strong communication skills.