Once used as a diagnostic label, substance abuse typically refers to behavioral patterns of drug use that involve impairment and physical and mental distress. Some people may use the term “drug abuse” to reference a marked physical and mental dependence on drugs. Today, drug abuse typically refers to misusing substances, not necessarily being addicted to them. However, drug abuse can often lead to a physical dependence or addiction associated with a focus on obtaining and using drugs and severe withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.† It is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control, and those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs.11
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction. Heroin Withdrawal | First Week In
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