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Addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm. Addiction is a disease that affects your brain and behavior. When youíre addicted to drugs or alcohol, you canít resist the urge to use them, no matter how much harm they may cause. At first, you may choose to take a drug or drink because you like the way it makes you feel. You may think you can control how much and how often you use it. But over time, drugs change how your brain works. These physical changes can last a long time. They make you lose self-control and can lead you to damaging behaviors. Alcoholism occurs when you drink so much that your body eventually becomes dependent on or addicted to alcohol. When this happens, alcohol becomes the most important thing in your life. People with addictions will continue to drink/use even when drinking/using causes negative consequences, like losing a job or destroying relationships with people they love.

Ask yourself...Do I have a problem?

Risks associated with addictions:
Heart Problems: Liver diseases: Pancreatic problems: Cancer A Weakened immune system: Cognitive problems: ] Mood Disorders Addiction VS. Abuse
Abuse Usually you're able to change your unhealthy habits or stop altogether


Effect on your Brain
Your brain is wired to make you want to repeat experiences that make you feel good. So you're motivated to do them again and again. The addictive drugs target your brain's reward system. They flood your brain with a chemical called dopamine. This triggers a feeling of intense pleasure. So you keep taking the drug to chase that high. Over time, your brain gets used to the extra dopamine. So you might need to take more of the drug to get the same good feeling. And other things you enjoyed, like food and hanging out with family, may give you less pleasure. When you use drugs for a long time, it can cause changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well. Addictions can hurt your:

Together, these brain changes can drive you to seek out and take drugs in ways that are beyond your control.
I encourage you to get help while you still can.

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