Fast Facts About Addiction


Drugs are chemicals that affect the brain by tapping into its communication system and interfering with the way neurons normally send, receive, and process information. Marijuana and heroin can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter.  However, they don’t activate neurons in the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and they lead to abnormal messages being transmitted through the network.                                                                                                                                      (NIDA)


Although women are more vulnerable than men to many of the medical consequences of alcohol use, a study comparing brain damage caused by alcohol use showed significant brain shrinkage in both men and women.                                                                                  (NIDA)


 FACT #3

The brain is made up of many parts that all work together as a team.  Drugs can alter important brain areas that are necessary for life-sustaining functions and can drive the compulsive substance misuse that marks addiction.                                                                                 (NIDA)



When smoking or injecting a drug, the intense high fades within a few minutes to lower levels. Scientists believe that this low feeling drives individuals to repeat drug use in an attempt to recapture that high, pleasurable state.                                                                               (NIDA)


 FACT #5

Genetic risk factors account for more than half of the likelihood that an individual will develop an addiction.                                                                                                                (NIDA)



Smoking a drug or injecting it into the skin increases addictive potential. Both smoked and injected drugs enter the brain within seconds and produce a powerful rush of pleasure.  (NIDA)



Substance misuse can lead to dramatic changes in neurons and brain circuits. These changes can still be present even years after the person ceases using drugs.                                     (NIDA)