Addiction

Back to Topics

What is addiction disorder?

Addiction disorder is a complex condition involving multiple areas of the brain. People with addiction have an intense focus on using a certain substances or repeating risky behaviors to an unhealthy point. Some people may try a substance or behavior and never approach it again, while others become addicted. Different substances and behaviors have different effects on a person’s health. Serious complications can cause health concerns or social situations to result in death.

Causes

Like many mental health disorders, several factors may contribute to development of addiction. The main factors are:

  • Environment: Environmental factors, including your family’s beliefs and attitudes, exposure to peer groups, etc.
  • Genetics: Addiction may be influenced by inherited genetic traits

Symptoms

  • Impaired control
  • Social problems
  • Risky use or behavior
  • Increased tolerance (need for larger amounts to get the same effect)

Am I at risk?

Common risk factors of addiction disorder:

  • Existing mental health disorder
  • Family history of addiction
  • Repeated and early exposure to addictive substances or behaviors
  • A lack or disruption in a person’s social support system
  • Traumatic experiences

Addiction At A Glance

  • Addiction disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups
  • Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction
  • 6.8 million people with an addiction have a mental illness