The American Society of Addiction Medicine describes addiction as "a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.  It is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behaviors and interpersonal relationships and a dysfunctional emotional response".  


Addiction can affect and impair the parts of the brain that are responsible for decision making, impulse control and memory.  There are several factors that can lead to addiction or cause an individual to be predisposed to succumbing to addiction.  Some of these factors are based on genetic, biological, psychological and environmental risks.  Addiction limits the brain's ability to create the sensation of pleasure.  As this continues it takes more and more drugs or alcohol to produce the same sensations, which is what leads to addiction.


Addiction is complicated, and an individual struggling with addiction will experience periods of relapse and remission which is why there is a need for continued care after the initial treatment period has ended.  


Occasionally these problems can be exacerbated by pre-existing psychological issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among others.  As such it is important to receive the proper treatment so that these issues can be properly diagnosed and treated.


With proper treatment and support, recovery is possible.


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