• Addiction & recovery

What is Addiction? | FAQ about Addiction

Nzinga Harrison

May 28, 2020


What is addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder of the brain’s reward system. This is associated with compulsive and continued drug use despite harmful life consequences or physical side effects. Addiction, known medically as substance use disorder, is considered as both a mental health condition and a complex brain disorder. As time goes on and usage continues, how the person’s brain, body, and mind function can change dramatically and negatively impact their life.

What drugs can a person be addicted to?

Different drugs have different effects on different people. This is why some people can use drugs experimentally on occasion and not become addicted. However, if usage becomes more regular, some people become unable to control when and how much they are using. Certain drugs like stimulants, cocaine, or opioid painkillers, can cause a person to develop an addiction more quickly than other drugs. People can become addicted to legal and illegal drugs or substances, including:

  • Illegal substances

  • Misusing prescription medicines like opioids, or over-the-counter medicines by taking them in a different way than intended, such as:

    • Taking medicine prescribed for someone else

    • Taking a larger dose than prescribed

    • Using the medicine in a different way than directed, such as crushing and snorting or injecting

    • Using the medicine to get high on purpose

Who can develop an addiction?

Addiction can affect people from all backgrounds and can happen to anyone, at any age. There is no easy way to spot an addiction disorder because not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. The people with a high risk of developing an addiction may experience:

  • other mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder

  • drug use that started at a young age

  • peer pressure from people who encourage drug use

  • unhappiness or instability at home, with friends, or at work

  • family history of a parent or sibling has a drug or alcohol addiction

Is there a cure for addiction?

There isn’t an easy or magical cure for drug addiction but it is a treatable medical condition. With the appropriate treatment for their specific needs, a person can improve their addiction over time, reduce their risk of relapse, and achieve a successful long-term recovery.

Seek addiction help today. Contact us to learn more about starting treatment.

If you need help with your substance use disorder, we are here to help you build your confidence and momentum towards the future you want. We provide treatment services for adults with alcohol, opioid, and other substance use disorders. We are currently located in Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.

Eleanor Health

Recovery for life.

Our mission at Eleanor Health is to help people affected by addiction live amazing lives. We deliver whole-person, comprehensive care and are passionate about transforming the quality, delivery, and accessibility of addiction & mental health treatment. Our actions are rooted in respect for each member's values, culture, and life experiences, and our commitment to their wellbeing is unwavering and without judgement.

Reach out today


All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.