What is Addiction?


  • Addictions are primary, progressive, potentially fatal diseases
  • Addictions are caused by chemical changes in the brain
  • Addiction is treatable and addicts do recover

Disease of the Brain

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease caused by chemical changes in the brain.  It affects the brain's reward, motivation, and memory circuits.  Dysfunction in these brain circuits causes an individual to pursue reward and/or relief pathologically by substance use and other addictive behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by

  • The inability to abstain consistently
  • Impairment in behavioral control
  • Craving or increased "hunger" for drugs or rewarding experiences
  • Diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behaviors and interpersonal relationships
  • Dysfunctional emotional response

Like with other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission.  Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can be fatal.

For a more information on addiction, visit the American Society of Addiction Medicine's definition of addiction

Who’s At Risk?

No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted.  Genetic factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction.  Environmental factors interact with a person's biology and affect the likelihood of an addiction developing.  Other factors that can contribute to the appearance of addiction include:

  • The repeated engagement in drug use or other addictive behaviors
  • Disruption of healthy social supports and problems in interpersonal relationships
  • Exposure to trauma or stressors that overwhelm a person's coping abilities
  • The presence of mental health disorders.

Addiction is Treatable

The good news is, addiction can be successfully treated.  At Jackson Recovery Centers, we help people recover from their addictions every day and live a productive, happy life.  The first step is calling us at (712) 234-2300 or 1-800-472-9018.

I believe addiction is a serious disease and would like to help people recover by donating to Jackson Recovery Centers.

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