Addiction is both an illness and a disease.
A variety of psychological, social genetic and other factors make some people more vulnerable than others to developing an addiction. No one chooses to develop this disease. Research has shown that addiction is not a matter or moral character, willpower or individual strength. Instead, it is a matter of how the brain is wired.
Long-term use of alcohol and other drugs changes the brain. Substance abuse increases the release of chemicals called dopamine. Overtime, if the levels of dopamine are consistently high, the brain attempts to balance things out by producing less dopamine. Now the brain has to rely on substances to release the dopamine. This is when individuals start to use alcohol or drugs just to feel normal again.
Addiction to alcohol or other drugs leads to negative consequences in almost every area of life including; social, emotional, financial, legal, family, school, physical health and employment. Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction can prompt earlier intervention and better outcomes.