Addiction is a primary, progressive, chronic and potentially fatal disease caused by chemical changes in the brain. It changes the way a person thinks, feels, acts and remembers making recreational use impossible. The disease of addiction impacts the entire family.
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:
◾Exposure to trauma or increased stress
◾Presence of mental health disorders
◾Lack of support systems and/or relationships with others
◾Craving or increased "hunger" for drugs or rewarding experiences, like gambling, eating or shopping
◾Inability to recognize consequences of one's behavior or impact on relationships
◾Increased or absence of emotion
◾Inability to abstain consistently
◾Unable to control their behavior
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.