What You Need to Know About Addiction
Is Addiction a Choice?
Addiction is a misunderstood disease. It’s time to get the facts. This lesson introduces the science of addiction and how the brain is impacted by alcohol and drug use.
Addiction is a chronic disease like hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.
The disease of addiction is caused by a substance’s powerful effects on the brain.
Addictive substances hijack the natural dopamine survival system in the brain. This causes the brain to believe the primary need for survival is the drug.
Addictive substances impact the decision making and control portions of the brain.
Recognizing the Risk Factors & Signs of Addiction
It’s not just a choice. Science has discovered three key risk factors. Learn the risks, signs, and symptoms of addiction.
Explore the risk factors that make someone more prone to addiction.
Spot the Signs
Learn how you can spot the signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder
The primary risk factors for addiction are biology, environment, and development.
The earlier the age of first exposure to a substance, the increased likelihood of developing an addiction.
Being aware of physical, biological, and psychological signs and symptoms of addiction can help you help a loved one sooner.
Stigma & Shame
End the shame. Stop the stigma. It’s not about being polite, or politically correct – it’s about saving lives. The stigma that surrounds those with a substance use negatively impacts their ability to seek treatment and get well.
Stigma and shame negatively impact the ability of someone with a substance use disorder to get well.
Stigma and shame hurt families by impeding their efforts to seek help.
Some institutions including employers, criminal justice agencies, and healthcare institutions have traditionally stigmatized those with an addiction, but that is changing.
Understanding the Opioid Crisis
Addiction, specifically the opioid epidemic, is making headlines every day. We can address it through education about opioid dangers, good choices for non-opioid pain management, and teaching overdose first aid.
The Pain Business
Aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies in the late 1990s coupled with regulatory pressure on healthcare providers to better manage patient pain helped to fuel opioid overprescribing.
It is important to pay attention to the medications prescribed to you and your family. Ask questions of your doctor and pharmacist to make the best choices.
Overdose First Aid
If you know someone who takes prescription opioid medications or uses heroin, you should carry naloxone to reverse an overdose.
Discussing pain management options with your healthcare provider can help mitigate risks of opioid exposure.
Learning to administer and carrying naloxone can help to save a life.