About Addiction

Addiction is when a person loses control of their life over a substance or activity. People who are addicted usually cannot stop their problem behavior even though it may ruin their health, destroy their relationships with family and friends, wipe out their savings, and cause the loss of a job and other problems.

Some people are addicted to substances such as alcohol, illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin, prescription drugs such as Valium or sleeping pills, nicotine in cigarettes or other tobacco products, and caffeine in coffee, tea or colas.

Anyone can have an addiction—young or old, male or female, rich or poor. No one knows for sure why some people become addicted and others do not. Family history, personality, living situation, and social factors (friends, family) all seem to play a role. Addictions may develop very fast or happen over many years.

Addiction usually follows a pattern. There may be experimenting with a substance to find out what it’s like. There is continued use of the substance to get a "rush" or "high" or to avoid facing a problem. Addictive behavior continues, along with denial of any of the bad effects it may be having on health, job performance or relationships. Finally, control is lost completely—no matter what the cost, despite attempts to cut down or stop.

What if you have an addiction?

  1. Admit it. This is the first step to recovery and a life free of addiction.
  2. Talk with someone you trust. Addiction is better not faced alone – reach out to a close friend, family member, doctor, therapist, or spiritual leader.
  3. Get expert help. Find out what types of treatment are available such as residential treatment, professional counseling, drug therapy, or self-help groups.

Addictions are treatable and recovery can renew health and happiness and bring peace to one’s life.

ADDICTION RESOURCES